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A Bonus 'Zinc Out Loud!' with swim workouts, drills & tips from the pros to up your swim game!

A Bonus 'Zinc Out Loud!' with swim workouts, drills & tips from the pros to up your swim game!

We dive into all things swim this month!

Get in the pool with Zealios pro triathletes Sarah True, Heather Jackson, Brent McMahon, Rachel McBride, Sarah Piampiano, Jen Annett and Haley Chura. They share their favorite swim workouts, drills and tips to help kick your swimming into the next gear. 

 

Team Zealios pro athletes Heather Jackson, Rachel McBride, Sarah True, Brent McMahon, Sarah Piampiano, Haley Chura & Jen Annett

 

 1. What is your favorite main swim set?

Brent McMahon:

“My favorite swim set is a progression aerobic power swim.  

2 x 300, 3 x 200, 8 x 100, 8 x 50 picking up the pace by a second or two by hundred as you descend the groups of repeats, focusing on even pacing.  The same turnover per 100 time is used and should be a short 5-7 second rest on a hundred time. So, use 1:20 base time if you will swim the 100’s on 1:12-1:15. This set can be done any time through the season and as you get fitter you can drop the turnover times or pick up the speed.”  

Brent McMahon professional triathlete at the pool

 

Heather Jackson:

“I hate swimming. Haha. Kidding! I don't mind 100s or less.

I like to go hard in anything I do and I basically last about 75-100 meters before I blow up.

I also like to count to 4, which is what a 100 is for me, as I count each length I swim, haha. So we did a set before Kona quite a few times of dropping 100's times...

1 on 1:30, 1 on 1:25, 1 on 1:20, 1 on 1:15 and then 1 on 1:10 right into 2 at each of those send offs, right into 3 at each of those send offs and I think we even went up to a final round of 4 at each of those send offs. So you can make the set as long or as short as you want of continuous 100s.”

Rachel McBride:

“Fav swim set comes from Tower 26, of course! A Gerry Rodrigues staple:

100 steady

100 70.3 effort

100 steady

100 FAST!!

All on 10 seconds rest. Do this 6-8 rounds through. The kicker is the 100 at 70.3 effort increases by 100 each time so you finish at 100 steady, 600-800 70.3 effort, 100 steady, 100 FAST!! You can increase the rest on the longer sessions by 10s for every 100 as well (so taking about a minute rest on the final rounds after the 70.3 effort). The point is to try and keep all the paces consistent. You can do this in reverse as well, starting at 800-600 and decreasing each round. It’s incredible how hard that “70.3 effort” gets even just to hold 100 in the end!”

Rachel McBride pro triathlete at the swimming pool for a training workout


Check out more on Tower 26’s swim workouts

Jen Annett:

600 warm up

15x200 descending 1-3 as swim, pull, pull + paddles with 10-15 seconds rest after each 200

800 cruise with paddles

 

 


2. What about a swim technique drill you'd recommend?

Sarah True:

“I’m a huge fan of band only work. It’s great for building strength, but also for working on an efficient stroke and body position.”

Sarah True professional triathlete during a swim workout Photo credit @Talbotcox

Photo: @Talbotcox

 

Try it out:

9 Stretch Cord Exercises To Improve Swim Strength And Technique from Triathlete Magazine

 

Rachel McBride:

“I think the biggest thing most folks can work on for technique is tautness. So doing things like vertical kick, fast kicking with a snorkel, and being mindful about translating that tautness into swimming. Fav set might be rounds of 30 seconds vertical kick immediately into 50 swim steady, then rounds of 10 seconds vertical kick max effort immediately into 25 swim fast!”

Heather Jackson:

“I find myself doing catch-up drill a lot because my left arm drops every time I breath and pulls way earlier than is efficient, so I'm trying to work on that.”

Heather Jackson professional triathlete at the swimming pool working on technique Photo @wattieink

Photo @wattieink


Try it out:

Swim Drill Of The Week: Catch Up Drill from Swimming World Magazine

 

Haley Chura:

“I love catch-up drill. I do it during warm-up almost every day. I think it helps reinforce high elbow swimming and a short, fast, kick.”

 

 

3. What's the most common mistake you see beginner swimmer's making?

Haley Chura:

“I think sometimes beginner swimmers try to do everything on their own. I think finding a masters program or training partners can help keep an athlete motivated to get to the pool and build training consistency.”

Haley Chura professional triathlete at the swimming pool with a group of fellow swimmers

 Sarah Piampiano:

“The timing of breathing can be really hard to master, so spending time to focus on breath timing can be very helpful.”

 

Try it out:

2 Drills to Work on Your Freestyle Breathing from Active

Brent McMahon:

“Not working on kicking. Even if you are a bad kicker you can at least work at being more efficient with it so it doesn’t waste energy and helps hold your form.”

Brent McMahon pro triathlete jumps into outdoor pool

Try it out:

Power up your kick with the Zona kick drill from SwimSwam Magazine

 

Sarah True:

“Beginner swimmers frequently approach swimming like it’s a leg and arm activity; they’ll kick hard and move their arms like windmills. Think more about rotating through the hips and pushing water back than trying to move limbs through the water.”

 

 


4. What's your final thought before the swim start cannon goes off in a race?

Heather Jackson:

“I usually just feel really sick and nauseous. When the cannon fires, I just try to picture all of the 400s I've practiced for that first 400 meters or so, as that's the worst part and determines what group you make it into or not.”

Heather Jackson professional triathlete shares thoughts on the triathlon swim start Photo @wattieink

Photo @wattieink

 

Jen Annett:

“I suffer from panic attacks so I usually try to talk my mind into “not caring” and that I’m just going out for a training swim. Just here to have some fun!! This helps keep me calm and takes the pressure off!”

Sarah True:  

“I don’t have to do this. I GET to do this”

Sarah True professional triathlete at the start of an open water swim

Photo @talbotcox

 

Brent McMahon:

“Turnover and power.”

Sarah Piampiano:

“I'm most focused on trying to get onto someone's feet.  So I am thinking about that, but also trying to keep myself calm and just breathe.”

Sarah Piampiano professional triathlete at the swimming pool

 

 


5. If triathlon replaced the swim portion of a race, what activity should it be replaced with?

Rachel McBride:

“Kayaking or rowing.”

Rachel McBride professional triathlete getting ready for an open water swim

Sarah True:

“Speed eating. As a fast eater with a tough stomach, I think that I could do pretty well with this.”

Sarah True professional triathlete enjoying a much deserved cookie

Brent McMahon:

“The caber toss…end of story!”

A women participating in a caber toss competition Photo: Mike Lacey

Photo: Mike Lacey


In case you’re interested in how to caber toss…

Heather Jackson:

“Skate skiing!” :)

Heather Jackson professional triathlete skate skiing in the off season

Jen Annett:

“A paddle of some sort might make it interesting!”

Jen Annett professional triathlete enjoying summer swimming

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