Advice on how to achieve a faster swim.

Swimming XTERRA Style

From www.triathletemag.com

By Melanie McQuaid

May 12, 2007 — XTERRA has a reputation as the triathlon for non-swimmers – a designation often offered to Ironman as well. Strong bikers/runners figure that with good training they can earn back the time if strong swimmers falter in later stages in the race. It is true that XTERRA was invented with the cyclist in mind (a mountain biker in particular), but recent improvements in the quality of field have left the mountain bikers scratching their heads, wondering why they are not making much of a dent in the field after weak swims.

Why?

Well, obviously XTERRA athletes in general have improved in ability but also the numbers in the race are much larger, which has created a more interesting dynamic in the race. It’s no longer an option to simply ride your way to the front because traffic is an element of the race that needs to be considered. We ride on trails, not a wide open road, and even though drafting is legal, waiting for an opportunity to pass is mandatory.

You cannot win an XTERRA, or an Ironman for that matter, in the swim, but you certainly can lose the race there. Below are some thoughts on how to improve on, if not maximize, your swimming ability to get the most out of yourself on your next XTERRA race day.

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World Class Performance Points Program

I hate swimming.

Ok, now I that I have said that and made myself feel better, I can now move forward with my new swim performance program designed by Joel Filliol to try and keep me on top of my swim program.

I REALLY hate swimming.

Sorry, just had to slip that one in. In case anyone was wondering, my least favorite part of any triathlon is the soggy appetizer. I am not sure why I became such a hater when it comes to swimming because all I know is the only time I am not really in love with what I am doing is when I am on my way to a pool. This includes the numerous rainy six degree days this winter on the bike and the day I blew to the moon and still had to climb an hour and fifteen minutes up Mt Lemmon AND the day after that when we were running intervals and I couldn’t make my legs go any faster than the I-got-nuthin shuffle. Swimming is still worse. A good day swimming is still crap compared to a bad day biking. However, any day swimming is still better than any day not doing what you love and I guess swimming still gets some love for being part of a triathlon.

Despite my dislike of the discipline, I want to be better. In fact, I want to be just plain GOOD, not just sort of okay. Of course, I still want to be FAST on the bike and run, but I really would like to be a good swimmer and minimize the passing required at the start of races. Unfortunately, the only good way to be a good swimmer is to swim – a lot. The past four weeks I have been swimming an unprecedented amount for me, six practices per week! Unheard of! The results have been promising and as a result, encouraging. So to up the ante, Joel Filliol, head coach at the Pacificsport National Triathlon Training Center upped the ante by creating a little motivational points program for Mel to keep her on her swim game through to Maui…..

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