Friday, May 29, 2015

Things that matter. Things that don't.


When you do triathlon, you're going to run into a lot of well meaning advice, and some that just doesn't make sense. 

This post is about flip turns and doing "other strokes". 

1.) MYTH: If you're going to swim, you MUST do flip turns. It's the only way to move up a lane, and if you want to get faster, you have to move up. If you don't do flip turns, you're disrupting the flow of the lane. 

I've been a triathlete for 10 years now. I do flip turns. Trust me when I say this:

All of those reasons are bullshit. There is absolutely NO scientific evidence that doing a flip turn makes you ANY faster in the open water.

If you want to get faster in open water, do pulls, lot's of pulls and swim in open water once a week (when available). Practice your starts. Practice negative splits. Learn how to pace. A triathlon swim will always be longer than most swim events, learning to pace is one of the most important aspects. 

In swimming, there are TWO legal types of turns in swimming events. A flip turn is an appropriate and legal turn for free and for backstroke. HOWEVER, the most commonly used turn in breast stroke and fly are OPEN turns.
Anyone want to tell Ryan Lochte that he's doing it wrong?

If you swim with swimmers, you will see that they often use either turn and are very used to swimmers in the lane doing either open turns or flip turns. The only people who make a big deal about flip turns are triathletes who think they're hot shit because they do flip turns.

What's the benefit of a flip turn? Other than coming off the wall faster, nothing. When you think a flip turn takes about :03 seconds, the turn itself doesn't even offer a hypoxic training value. You can get better hypoxic training by breathing every 5-7-9 strokes.

However, if you are planning on competing at any swimming events (in a pool), you must learn both the open and the flip turn or you could be disqualified from an event. BUT, most triathletes don't do those events anyway.

2.) MYTH: Learn the other strokes. 

I do flip turns and open strokes. I know how to swim fly, back, breast and free. 

Do I care if YOU know how to swim them? No. 

I'm all for becoming a better swimmer. I fully support using different muscle groups. I encourage anyone who wants to learn the other strokes to learn them. 

No one will care if you only do freestyle. Keep in mind that freestyle is usually the fastest stroke. If you choose to do freestyle, you'll be asked to lead the lane in masters or asked to move to the free style only lane. If you're on your own, who cares?

Swimming takes a lot of time. It requires driving to the pool, getting into the pool, showering and driving back home.

If you feel you are a weaker freestyler, and you're a triathlete, you'd be better off spending any time you can, getting freestyle lessons or working on your stroke. 

Now that I got that off my chest, HAPPY SWIMMING. Remember: do what's right for YOU. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks. Honestly when you're at the pool, no one is even paying attention to what you're doing, they're too busy doing their own training.