For many, the early triathlon season means getting back in the pool after several weeks (or months) off and working once again to get our swim times down to where they were at the peak of the season.
Especially for those athletes who are "adult onset swimmers" (i.e. did not begin swimming at 6 years old and continued to do so through college), shaking off the early season rust can be tough.
It can take weeks to finally regain the feel for the water and return to focusing on speed rather than form. However, here are five shortcuts that will jump-start this whole process:
Instead of guessing that your form is good (since we all have the cognitive distortion that we swim like Michael Phelps), it is well worth it to videotape your stroke and get it analyzed by a professional. After an extended break, we usually revert back to old habits like dropping our elbow, crossing over, and entering the water prematurely. While a friend can do the videoing, it is better to get a professional to analyze the actual form. Tri Swim Coach offers video analysis as part of their Pro membership.
Find Your Starting Point
Figuring out your swim intensities is critical to improving your swim. If you are always swimming at the wrong intensity like going out too quickly on the first interval or racing the warm up, then your workouts and improvement will suffer. Doing a 1,000- or 1,500-meter time trial early on will allow you to set your interval paces for the next several weeks.