Swim Technique Perfection

Posted by | January 18, 2015 | Events, Triathlon Training | 4 Comments
swimming campfeature

As a long time runner, it has been incredibly enjoyable to start training as a swimmer.  It has been very rewarding to see myself improving with continued practice and with the input of coaches who are able to observe and correct my swim technique.  In learning a new sport it is obvious that there is the need for learning correct technique.  A non-swimmer would never just jump into the water and hope that with enough thrashing around, they will miraculously learn prize-winning form.  For the more experienced swimmer it is still essential to set aside time to focus on perfecting technique.  An inefficiency in technique will hinder performance in swimming more so than in any of the other triathlon sports.  Of all the sports, there is the greatest expenditure of energy in swimming over a set distance.  Water is nearly a thousand times denser than air, with the water creating a huge amount of resistance for the body to push through.  We are naturals on land – running being something we have done from the moment most of us could get up on our two feet.  We do not naturally have the shape or instincts of fish to move ourselves gracefully through the water (unless you are Michael Phelps!).

In training for multiple sports, I need to ensure that I am not wasting any energy in poor, inefficient form.  I am training for an event that will take me across 3.8 km of water, swimming; 180km of road on the bike and then 42.2km of land running.  I want all my energy going forwards to get me to that finish line.  Time to ensure that my technique is smooth and seamless and all my precious energy is being used to get me to my goal!

Triathletes often think that simply working harder and trying more will make them faster.  This strategy does not work in the water – thrashing about can make one slower! Inefficient form will dramatically increase the drag in the water.  To improve on swimming, learning how to streamline your body position will greatly improve swim times.  According to “the Triathlete’s training Bible” by Joe Friel, scientific studies have found that reducing drag has the potential to produce greater gains in swimming than improving aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

Time to get to a swim clinic and have an expert watch and record your swim stroke and start working on becoming more streamlined in the water.  Reduce the turbulence around the body and start cutting through the water gracefully and effortless, conserving energy to go the distance with speed and style.

I will be attending a series of swim clinics with Wolfgang Guembel and reporting on the valuable information I gain through this practical series.  Even better – join me if you are able, at the swim clinics and have an expert critique your stroke and do a thorough video analysis on your swim technique.

swim clinic
This is the first article in a series on good technique, starting with swimming.  I look forward to reporting all the valuable information that I gain in the upcoming weeks.  The first clinic is on Friday January 23rd at the Boys and Girls Club in Niagara Falls.  Check out details at Aktiv Life. 




Janine Moffett

About Janine Moffett

I am a mother of three incredible children, work full time as an instructor therapist, and love to run. I have run 11 marathons, with a personal best of 2:57. This past April I ran my third Boston Marathon. I love challenges and began exploring the world of triathlons in 2014. I completed my first half Ironman at Muskoka in fall 2014 and came first in my age group. Now I am taking on the challenge of a Full Ironman, which I am planning for September, 2015. I believe we need to keep trying new things and embrace life to the fullest. I hope I can provide inspiration and insights to others.


  • Grace says:

    Very interesting! I love swimming (not competitively of course, haha) in the lake, and it was something I wanted to spend more time doing this summer. I don’t know anything about real technique though, I just swim like a frog, haha.

    • Janine Moffett Janine Moffett says:

      I bet you would love open water swimming. Find a group of swimmers in your area – it makes a huge difference when you have people to train with!

  • Sheri says:

    Love your blog Janine, and am totally impressed by your ability to pick up swimming in just one year – if I can get half as good as you in the next 6 months, I’ll be in good shape for Roth! Looking forward to hearing how your training is going. Remind me which Ironman are you doing?

    • Janine Moffett Janine Moffett says:

      Sheri – you are too kind! I look forward to seeing you at more clinics and maybe doing some training together. I am doing the Cedar Point Challenge Family Full Ironman distance in September. Keep up the awesome training!

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