YMCA of Greater Erie

5 Tips for Improving Your QUAD Swim Time
By Dan Pierce
6 Time Overall QUAD Champion
3 Time QUAD Swim Champion

Well, it is that time of year again. The snow is here one day and gone the next, and back the next. Time to start preparing, to start getting in the miles/hours of running and biking for those summer races that are still months away.

And of course, time to get ready for the most feared of all events, the Quad Swim.

How can 4 short lengths of the pool cause so much stress, anxiety, and outright fear?

The other legs of the Quad probably take competitors 10 to 20 times as long to complete as the swim. Still people fear the pain of the swim. It is a different beast. It takes the effort you dose out in a controlled manner over 30 minutes or more in the other races, and compresses it into burning, churning, all out agony in a minute or so.

Here are 5 tips to try to help you tame that beast.

  1. Get in the pool – As alluded to above, many athletes spend months preparing for races. They lay out 12 or even 28 week plans. Those same athletes will approach me 2 weeks before the swim and ask what they can do to get faster now that they are going to start training for the swim. My usual response is, “You should have gotten in the water 4 months ago.” It is never too early to start working on your weaknesses. Months out you can work on stroke technique and drills to help improve your form and efficiency. As you get closer, work on your speed and power.

There is no substitute for putting in time in the pool. No one would show up to the bike leg and expect to do well after riding for 2 weeks.

  1. Breathe Less – I will admit it. I breathe too much. However, I am still going to tell you to breathe less. Every stroke you breathe is slower than every stroke you do not breathe. Do not breathe your last stroke before a turn, your first stroke after a turn, or the last 5 yards of the race. It hurts, but only for a minute or 2, right?
  1. Flip Turns – This is not up for discussion. If you want to swim faster, then learn to do flip turns. You don’t have to set time aside for this in your training. If you are swimming more than a 25, then you have the opportunity to practice your flip turn.
  1. Stream Line – The fastest you are ever going is the moment you push off the wall. Learn to, practice to, streamline off your walls. Everyone talks about aerodynamics on the bike, but the water is much more punishing than the air. Work on getting farther off those walls with a good streamline.
  1. Kick – Those of us that are triathletes are accustomed to the benefit of wetsuits and “saving your legs” on the swim. This is not 2.4 or 1.2 miles, or even 750 meters. This is 100 yards. You need to get your legs going, and get that water boiling behind you.

Now get to work. You are only 2 months late getting in the water, if you start now.  Click here for information on training clinics.

To learn more about the Highmark QUAD, visit www.highmarkquad.org.