Most triathletes want to know the secret of how natural swimmers can just, well, swim! Ask any masters or Olympic swimmer what his or her swimming secret is and 99% of the time you will get the same answer: he or she joined a swim club or team at a young age and/or belong to a swim program currently. So, below are the top six reasons why you should join a swim club:
1. Getting Faster
The best reason you should join a club is to swim faster. This outcome results from coached sessions, other athletes pushing you to your limit, and a quality swim workout that isn’t the same as swimming by yourself. Getting up early for a swim practice can be daunting at times, but putting in the time and effort with a swimming club will pay huge dividends come race season, as well as helping out with reason number five.
2. Meet New Athletes
Triathletes tend to train alone, which often means swim-workout torture. When you don’t have anyone to talk to at the pool, your swimming starts to feel like a chore. Joining a master’s practice will surely guarantee that you meet new athletes. Top college swimmers, All-Americans, and Olympic swimmers might just be in the next lane, but if you aren’t training together, how would you know? Going to practices will help you learn more about other athletes and might just score you training advice from a high-caliber swimmer for free.
3. Learn to Swim With Better Technique
Swimming programs will increase the number of swim sessions you have during the week. With an increase in distance and speed, one thing that will start to improve drastically is your technique. With coached sessions and other athletes watching you, you’ll begin to identify areas of your swim technique that need work. Paying for video analysis can be quite expensive, but receiving personal attention from a coach or a handful of athletes looking at you might just fix that terrible head position you have in the water.
4. Coaching and Accountability
5:00am swim practices are never fun. I never liked them and they only got harder when I joined the Navy. The one thing that always kept me coming back, though, was my coach and accountability I felt to my fellow rescue swimmers and team. After you meet a new coach and athletes, they tend to notice when you miss a practice or cut a warm up or cool down short.
Do you want to let your new teammates or coach down? Do you want to make everyone wait on you in the morning before the practice starts? Having that accountability can help you become a better swimmer by forcing you to break out of old or bad habits.
When swimming with an adult program, there are actually meets in which you can compete. Running and road cycling races are easy to find with a quick online search, but how often do you hear about a mile or 500m swimming competition? This type of competition can give your season a new focus and provide you the confidence you need to crush your next race.
I don’t think I can actually count on all toes and fingers the number of athletes I have coached over the years who have had to learn patience when it comes to swimming. We live in an instant gratification society and I find it hard for triathletes to fully get that swimming is long-term development. Not. Short. Term. You need to develop and have the patience to know that the time spent working on proper form now will give you enormous rewards come the future.
In addition to these top six reasons above, there are plenty of other benefits from swimming with a group such as new friends, increase in stamina, and more. Don’t be left behind while your competition surges ahead of you during the swim. Take the extra time to find a program that suits you and just have fun! You never know what you may learn or discover.
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