Practice Bilateral Breathing
Mastering breathing is one of the most important techniques triathletes should adopt. It’s important to know how to breathe on both sides because weather and water conditions are unpredictable, other swimmers may be close by, the direction of the sun can interfere with vision and buoys may not be placed on one side.
Learn What Head Position Works for You
A leading triathlete coach, Swim Smooth’s Paul Newsome, argues that there is no ideal head position for everyone. While many trainers feel that looking down straight down is ideal, this position isn’t that great for open water swimming where a forward-looking head position helps you navigate and draft.
You also need to get used to water-clogged goggles. It’s important to have a good pair of swimming goggles and learn how to position your head for the best view with them on.
Work on Your Catch and Pull Early On
While head position, stroke and kicking get ample attention during traditional swim training, coach Paul Newsome advises that catch and pull are techniques that need to be mastered early on for success in open water swimming. He says it will take your swimming to the next level. Do the doggy paddle and head up polo stroke drills to improve catch.
Increase Endurance Work
Do some dry land work to increase endurance, especially if you go to the gym. If you’re a beginner, the fitness of your arms may not be enough to endure a triathlon swim just yet, so pull ups, cable weight pulling exercises, lateral pull downs and bench presses will help build arm endurance.
Video Tape Your Stroke
Most of us have experienced situations where the coach repeats something over and over, but we aren’t able to see what they mean. An analysis of our stroke on video will help you see exactly what it looks like and where you need to improve. You can follow it up with some resistance band work on dry land to perfect technique.
Perfect Your Posture
The best swimming posture is a good posture. A good posture in general helps you keep your body straight in the water and will prevent things like arm cross-overs, reduced rotation and scissor kicks. A good posture means a cleaner, stronger stroke and less energy spent.
Learn All the Strokes
You might think, “But I am never going to do butterfly in open water!” Of course you won’t but that’s not why you need to practice other strokes. When you challenge your body with different strokes, your body develops more strength because of the extra stimulus you offered it. You can gain a stronger core, mental fitness and aerobic strength with every new stroke that you add to your skills.