Swim confidence key to triathlon

The Mr. T’s Kids of Steel and Sprint Triathlon Learn to Tri Program swim portion requires a swim suit and goggles with a wet suit option on race day (June 10).

The swim for many is the biggest challenge. Gaining confidence in the water is a huge step in the right direction. My first tri was in 1980. I’ll never forget the swim. I was new to swimming. I’d only swam up to about 200m max! I asked one of the 69 competitors why there was a sail boat out in the middle of the lake? He said “We had to swim to it.”

My first thought was “Yikes!” Then I asked him how we got to our bike from there? His answer was: “We have to swim back to shore.” I used every stroke invented by man and then added a couple of new ones to make it through the swim. Since then, I’ve worked on my swim.

Unless you are fortunate enough to have a swimming background, most of us find the swim portion of the triathlon to be the most challenging part of the race. Follow the 12-week Learn to Tri program and you will not have my experience!

We’re going to break the swim distance down into small segments. We will put it all together for the event. Technique is the biggest part in learning to swim properly. Are you having trouble managing the stroke? The use of a coach or ask the life guard at the pool to help you with some of the basics. This will prove to be very helpful.

Please feel free to ask me questions on the blog on Mr. T’s website: vernonkostri.ws. Proceeds from the triathlon go to the North Okanagan Youth and Family Services (NOYFS).

16 years & Adults:

Swim – 2x a week – 350 metres warm-up using all strokes (breast, back, free style). Swim 3 x 25 metres, resting 30 seconds after each 25m; 25m kick 3 x 25m rest 30sec/ea 25m; Main set 4 x 50m nonstop rest 45 sec/ea 50m. Use free or breast stroke.

Bike – 2x/week – 30 min. maximum each. Find an area that has a slight undulation (easy hills). Get used to changing gears. Stretch 5 min.

Run – warm up – 5 min. fast walk. Progress to 3 min. jog, 1 min. walk . Duration 20 min. Stretch 5-10 min.

12 – 15 years:

Swim – 2x/week – warm up – play water tag 10 min. Main set 6 x 25m one stroke, rest 30 sec/ea 25m; 1x 50m nonstop one stroke.

Bike – 2x/week – 30 min. nonstop undulating (easy hills). Stretch 5 min.

Run – 2x/week – 5 min jog /1 min walk – duration 30 min – stretch 5 min.

8 – 11 years:

Swim – 2x/week – Warm up/kick board kicking races (max 10 metres); swim 2 x 1/2 (12m) pool, and 2 x full (25m). Rest until chest is not heaving 1 min.

Bike – 2x/week – ride 10 min. flat with an easy hill about 100m long. Do this 2x.

Run – 2x/week – run length and width of soccer field then easy jog the next length. Do this 3x, then stretch 5 min. at the end.

6 – 7 years:

Swim – 2x/week – learn to have goggles on and open your eyes under water. Do some more big arms and wind mill – going on your back is good.

Bike – 2x/week – How is your balance? Can you ride around obstacles in a figure 8? Max 10 min.

Run – 2x/week – Go to a field with some friends and play tag. 15 min. On your own, place a ball in the field. Run out and back from point of origin (50m) 4x rest 30sec/ea run.