I’ve competed in well over 100 triathlons and talked to thousands of people at races. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on my swim, and often the conversation turns to the laminenting of how hard the swim is, how the goal is just to get through it, and how they have the worst stroke.

Well I am here to tell you, if you are one of these forgone slow swimmers or think your swim is a lost cause, you haven’t done a swim clinic with a coach that has a trained eye to see and fix your faults. I’m also telling those that think they have a good swim, that you too can benefit from a swim clinic. 

I recently had the luck (or unluck depending on your point of view…) to join my All3Sports teammates for a swim clinic. I should have known that based on my 1x’s a week 1,000 yard swim routine, I was not ready for Coach Lizzie.

Lizzie Nyitray, triathlon pro and coach, started us with some warm ups… 4x50 this, 4x50 that, try these drills, all was good. Then she asked what we were up for, I mentioned (and regretted) saying that I liked pyramids, then this happened:

  • 6x50 on :35, :50 interval – this hurt, jelly feeling.
  • 4x100 on 1:15, 1:30 interval – momma, that tuna fish I had for lunch really wanted to rejoin the water. Digging deep and embracing the pain.
  • 2x200 on 2:40, 3:10 internal – oh la la, on the edge of bonking, lactic acid was filling my muscles like glue, praise the lord there were only two.

I made it, but only to be plucked out by Lizzie for a technique review, like a well-done steak ready for inspection. But strategically, she had tuckered me out for a thorough review of my stroke flaws, best revealed when exhausted. Real-time video analysis showed I was kicking too much, throwing off my balance and rhythm. Tips noted and drill practice plan in place, I ungracefully and thankfully exited the pool.

Not only did I receive actionable tips on how to swim better, in the practice I swam harder than I have in years. I’m energized to do more time bound/interval swims, but me vs. the pool versus me vs. tri-buddies is a different and more competitive dynamic. 

So I leave you with this: train with friends and competitors, and go to a swim clinic. Find a trained resource who can find your flaws and give you a game plan to improve, then push your limits in training. Hopefully next time I talk swimming at a triathlon, I find someone who tells me how their swim was awful, but they took action and have made significant improvements. 

May the best times be with you.

Submitted by:

Catherine Meihofer
3x’s Ironman Finisher
USA Triathlon All American 

*And if you are looking for the nicest critique of your swim followed by an action plan to improve, check out Coach Lizzie: https://rocmultisport.com/


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