Congratulations you’ve signed up to participate in the Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon! It’s going to be an exciting, nerve-racking, challenging and totally rewarding experience when you take off from the start line to do your best on the day.
It is really important to prepare yourself for the event by putting in place a training program that will not only improve your fitness but also help you understand what it will be like when you are in the race.
We’re biased, but we LOVE the swim leg and hope you do too! To enjoy the swim you have to be comfortable in the water, which means getting into the pool or sea as often as you can to practise. If you can swim at least 3 times per week you will notice an improvement in your confidence and ability in the water. If you can swim with friends or in a squad that will make the training even more fun and you can push each other along.
Here are some tips to make your freestyle stroke as efficient as possible:
- Get a smooth hand entry into the water to start your stroke. Avoid splashing with the hand to get a nice free-flowing technique.
- Rotate the body to help you reach as far forward with each arm stroke as possible. With a long stroke you will glide through the water more easily and take less strokes to cover the same distance.
- The catch and pull phase of your stroke is the most important to generate speed. Your arm and hand is like an oar that pulls a boat across the top of the water. Use the muscles in your shoulders to help get as much power as you can for your arms and hands to pull you forward.
- Kick only adds 10-15% propulsion to your speed so don’t tire yourself out by kicking too hard. Get in the habit of kicking with straight legs and only a small bend at your knee. This is help you remain streamlined in the water and keeps your leg muscles with some energy for the ride and run.
A drill that you can practise in the water to hold good body position is called the shark fin drill. Here’s what you need to do.
Kick on your side with one arm extended in the water, palm facing to the bottom of the pool and ear tucked on the shoulder. Keep the other arm alongside the body and then keeping the hand close to the body slowly bring the hand up towards the armpit by raising the elbow out of the water. After reaching the armpit, slowly lower it back to the starting position before repeating.
Whenever you’re swimming make sure you think about your body position in the water to be more like a fish than an anchor!