Triathlon: Learn To Swim – Fast!


Women's Health |

By Bryony McCormick and image by Bryan Derballa

Itching to tackle a triathlon but daunted by the water? No problem: we have an essential (and super-easy) guide so you can learn to swim – and win – fast!

Swimming is the part that freaks many people out when they think of triathlon, but lapping it out in the pool is probably the best full-body exercise you can do – it’s a toning and cardio workout in one, plus it’s low impact. Use this beginners’ guide from Embark’s Sprint Tri programme to get to one kay.

Week 1: Swim 400m
 – Taking It Easy

16 x 25m: alternate 25m front crawl (freestyle), 25m kick, 25m breaststroke, 25m pull buoy; rest for 30 seconds. Do the above four times = 16 lengths

Note: If you can’t swim breaststroke, just switch to front crawl

Week 2: Swim 700m
 – Taking It Easy

Warm-up: 8 x 25m alternating front crawl and breaststroke; rest 15 seconds after every 50m

Main: 8 x 50m alternating 50m pull buoy and 50m kick; rest for 30 seconds after every 50m

Cool down: 4 x 50m breaststroke (you may use paddles or fins)

Week 3: Swim 900m 
– Taking It Easy

Warm-up: 8 x 25m alternating front crawl and breaststroke; rest 10 seconds after every 50m

Main: 4 x 100m alternating 50m pull buoy and 50m kick; rest for 45 seconds after every 100m

Cool down: 3 x 100m mixed stroke (you may use paddles or fins)

Week 4: Swim
 1 000m

Warm-up: 2 x 100m alternating
front crawl and breaststroke; rest 30 seconds after every 100m

Main: 4 x 100m
 front crawl alternating
 50m hard and 50m easy; rest 45 seconds after every 100m

Cool down: 4 x 100m mixed stroke (you may use paddles or fins)

Your Tools:

Kickboard – a small, flat board usually made of dense foam. Hold onto it with your hands while propelling yourself with your legs. 
Pull buoy – a small piece of foam hollowed out on two sides. Squeeze 
it between your legs while using your arms to propel yourself.

READ MORE ON: Fitness Fitness Advice Swimming Workouts Triathlons