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Zoot Sports official coaching partner GiddyUp Multisport coaches Coach MJ and Coach Robo provide great reasons why swimming should be a focus point during the winter months.

For many triathletes – especially those who only have access to an outdoor pool – the story is the same. You would rather stay in your warm bed in the morning or cuddle up under a blanket on the couch in the evening instead of going to the pool. Fortunately, there are heaters in the pool, which means one thing. You could, in fact, be swimming in the off season! And you should!

The winter months are the perfect opportunity to work on your swim technique. It tends to be the weakest of the three disciplines for many triathletes. While the swim is the shortest in length during a race, it can have quite an impact on your overall performance. Significant gains can be made by working on the fundamentals of swimming. 

Try to incorporate 2-3 swim sessions weekly into your workout plan – just enough to maintain your current swim fitness. But the addition of a fourth session of just drills and technique focus is also advised. It can have a dramatic impact, not just in terms of getting faster, but also more efficient; that translates into more energy for the bike and run. Also that because triathletes are basically open water swimmers, having a strong and powerful stroke is necessary.

Triathletes typically need balance, rotation, and power drills. Sculling and flotation drills help with feel of the water and body position. Rotation drills promote bilateral breathing, a confidence builder when sunlight and choppy water in a race makes it difficult to breathe on one side. Power drills like using paddles and bands assist in the development of better pull and push in the stroke. A swim snorkle is a great way to concentrate on the drill and not worry about turning your head to breathe.

Coach MJ and Coach Robo’s Top Drills


place your hands out in front of you with your elbows up, head down in the water, and move hands to the side at head height and under your chest. 


swim on one side only, then switch; single-arm freestyle, or swim with a kick board vertically between your thighs to feel the board tap the water on each side.


push off the wall with your hands by your side, push down on your chest with a small kick, and breathe by rotating your hips; you should feel as though you are swimming over a barrel as you progress forward. 


Hold your paddles upside down so the paddles sit under your foream. This will help you get more of the high elbow angle and help prevent the elbow to drop.

Need more help with your swim? Hitch a coach and contact 

Michellie Jones and Robin Barsnatee are co-founders of Giddy Up Multisport with a combined coaching experience of over 35 years with success across all levels on triathlon.

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