Eimear Mullan finished in third place at Triathlon Gerardmer.
A relatively quieter weekend of racing from the squad following the successful build up and finish of the Ironman 70.3 World Champs.
This weekend we saw Ritchie Nicholls and Eimear Mullan racing at Triathlon Gerardmer. A good opportunity for a training race with Ritchie finishing Top 5 and backing up from the 70.3 World’s the week before. Eimear finished in third place, in typical Emu fashion running herself the podium. Great job.
Race Recap from Coach Bella Bayliss:
Great results from Marc Stettler and John Stapleton.
This weekend my squad saw two great results! Marc Stettler finished the very challenging PowerMan Zofingen long course Duathlon World Championships in 9 hours 14 minutes and 16 seconds.
I have been coaching Marc for 12 months and he has come a long way in a year!
Some years ago Marc was coached by Mat O’Halloran so he had a good idea what hard work was, but when we started 12 months ago Marc had taken some time off. In the past year he has worked really hard, been diligent every day with his training, keeping in good contact with me and we have made real progression. He lost 30kg this year! He is in the shape of his life. I am so proud of you Marc.
Marc has lots of goals ahead so we will continue on!
John Stapleton overcame some problems with cramping in racing that he has been having recently. Yesterday he raced The Lost Sheep, a tough Half Ironman in Ireland and had no problems! So now he will continue to work away for his next goal Ironman Barcelona.
Race Recap from Coach Edith Niederfriniger:
Mirco after his second triathlon finish. (Good to see him after St. Moritz Camp!)
My squad had eight athletes racing in different races over the weekend.
International Triathlon, Mergozzo (Italy, Middle Distance):
1st. place for my pro athlete Martina Dogana in 4:31.38!
3rd. place with a relay team for Emanuela (she did the bike part in 3:35).
Middle distance triathlon Locarno (Switzerland):
12. place F20 for Valeria in 5:16.33
10. place F35 for Mery in 5:22.34
40. place M35 for Mirco in 5:02.56 (it was only his second triathlon at all!)
Triathlon sprint distance Cremona (Italy):
Stefano Matalucci, 1:12.39 (he is a IM athletes and did the race just as a good intense workout in prep for 70.3 Pula in 2 weeks).
Other 2 athletes did bike races to prepare upcoming triathlons:
Granfondo Scott, 105km, 1200+ : Davide finisher in 3:11
Granfondo Torino, 114km, 1810+: Marco finisher in 4:46
Race Recap from Coach Lisbeth Kristensen:
A 1:22 minute run split for Maurice Inzirillo at the Locarno Half!
So impressed with Maurice this weekend. While he had a few technical problems he did a great job. He’ll be a bit humble to mention it but at 55 years young to run a 1:22 for 20km is very impressive after a difficult time on the bike. Here is Maurice’s race report:
Never give up. Nice swim today and out of water 7th of my group. Bike was terrible! All the shifting system Shimano DI2 was out of order. Impossible to use it. So all the bike leg was done with the big gears 53-13. I spent 10 minutes to figure out what was wrong. Impossible to reset the DI2 and impossible to shift manually the front gear to set the small one. I was so upset and ready to give up. I was finally able to move my back gear from 11 to 13 so I decided to do the bike leg with this config. Not the optimal one with 430m total elevation.
T2 4th of my group and 46th overall.
Run was just fantastic. 1:22.28 my best leg: 1st of my group and 11th overall! Total: 4:42.51 4th of my group and 70th overall!
Race Recap from Coach Robbie Haywood:
Sarah Keller ran in the Switzerland Marathon Light 10km race, setting a new personal best time. Very happy for Sarah, and her consistency in training is now showing through.
Congratulations to all athletes competing over the weekend.
Trisutto.com online professional coaches are available to help improve your performance here.
Brilliant comeback performance by Eimear Mullan: 2015 Ironman 70.3 Budapest Champion.
It gave me great pleasure to see Eimear Mullan not only back competing in the races she loves so much, but to see her storm to victory in characteristic Emu fashion at Ironman 70.3 Budapest this weekend.
We all know the frustrations of having to spend most of the season on the sidelines through injury. Eimear was so proud this year to break through with a team sponsorship with Alemeda On, only to have her first year of excitement cut down by injury, leading to doubt and pressure (self-applied) in trying to please the team.
This is not a comment on Eimear’s team, who have been very supportive, but a reality for all professional sportspeople. Athletes with the best intentions can make decisions based on factors around helping a new team or sponsor, which they previously wouldn’t have considered and it affects their racing patterns. A minor niggle turns into something bigger and if you’re not careful there goes the season.
It’s all part of the learning curve of being a professional athlete. It’s now our hope and my belief that Eimear will rebuild her season from here and rack up more wins for herself and her new team. Great job.
Remarkable turnaround from Matty Trautman. Broken clavicle to Ironman podium inside 6 weeks.
At the same race The Captain (Matt Trautman) just showed us again why we respect him so much and why every team in the sport should be chasing him. A broken clavicle 5 weeks ago and the doctors only technically passed him to begin training again last Tuesday.
Well he got some training in outrunning some of the big names in the sport with a 69 minute half marathon split and a terrific 3rd place. As expected the swim and bike are still a bit rusty following the accident, but contrary to initial fears Matty will be on the plane to our Kona camp in Jeju and will be ready to compete on the Big Island. Just a fantastic demonstration of using improvisation to overcome.
This weekend we also had Nicola Spirig returning to WTS racing in Stockholm following her win at the European Champs in Geneva. A short break and while back swimming and biking following an extended rest on the run legs to finish Top 5 was an excellent effort and one that will give her much confidence to keep racing short course up to the Olympics.
Recap from Coach Bella Bayliss:
Photo credits: Athlete photography by James Mitchell, TriActiv Lanzarote
Another great week from my squad. Aya Stevens came a solid 5th in the professional division at 70.3 Budapest. Aya is training and racing herself into the best shape of her life, and there is no stopping her as she will finish her season off with a few more races yet 🙂 Xterra UK next weekend,
Lucy Biddlestone tried a different kind of race for her and ended up winning it! A 28km trail race on Lanzarote, Lucy is also training and racing herself into the best shape of her life and there is also no stopping her! She has no fear!
Marc Stettler was back racing today after lots and lots of training. Dedicating his recent 2 weeks holiday to do some mega training in preparation for his big goal of the year, Zofingen long distance Duathlon. Unfortunately Marc fell off his bike on the last day of this training block and injuring his elbow, but the past 2 weeks building back again and today did a 6 minute PB at the Lausanne Olympic distance coming 41st out of 110 guys in his age group. Well done Marc!
Finally, Andy Hamilton smashed another 25mile TT after smashing his local ParkRun the day before, Nothing is stopping Andy from being the best he can be.
Recap from Coach Andres Castillo:
Winners are grinners: Cesar Lopez, Coach Andres, Brian Moya and Joh Flynn.
After 4 years on the island Mr. Sancho’s Triathlon did wonderful work to say goodbye in its last edition, with perfect organization and bigger prize money for the Olympic and Sprint distance races. My athlete Brian Moya in his preparation for the Cozumel World Cup won the sprint race with a 16 minutes run and Cesar was second in the Olympic distance after a hard battle. John Flynn and Tedi Quintero won their age groups and Diego placed 5th in the juniors race. Diego and Cesar are part of the Tres Hermanos Foundation and TriCozumel program and just two of the many athletes that participated in this edition from the program.
A huge thank you to the Ortega’s Family in Cozumel who for 4 years used their own resources to create an event that was competitive, but also made a whole family of many triathletes on the island and surrounding areas.
Finally, congratulations to my athletes Rodrigo Gabriel, who raced at a half marathon as training for his Ironman in October with a 1:19 split, and to Juan Sanchez who raced well in the Veracruz triathlon.
Recap from Coach Lisbeth Kristensen:
Melanie Baumann: Age group winner at Challenge Walchsee this weekend!
Congratulations to Melanie Baumann who this weekend raced the Challenge Walchsee Half and won her age group F35-39 and was 3rd fastest (fastest run) of all age group athletes. Fantastic!
Here are Melanie’s thoughts on the race:
Had a great race at Challenge Walchsee today and for the very first time I did well in all 3 legs!!! Already 11th in my age group after the swim, even though or maybe because of changing quite a lot in my swim in the last couple of weeks. On the bike I was feeling very well and I’m really happy with the 4th fastest bike split of all age groups on a really hard course. And didn’t even lose that much on the pros as well! Coming off the bike 4th in my age group, I started running down the remaining competitors to win my age group by 8 minutes with the fastest run split of all age group athletes. I even ended up finishing in 4:59:59h, so happy having done a sub 5 for the very first time, on a course I didn’t think I could do it 🙂 3rd of all age groups and 13th overall, I’m just really happy!!! Thanks, coach Lisbeth!!!
Recap from Coach Edith Niederfriniger:
Only real champions know how to turn a bad day into a success! Congratulations Martina, proud of you!
Today we had the Italian Championship over the Middle Distance in Lovere with some great results for our team:
Martina, 2. place overall 4.47.30 – we are very satisfied with this because Marty is training for Ironman Barcelona.
Irene, 2.place cat S2 5:09.46 – first middle distance race for her (she comes from duathlon), our Trisutto.com St. Moritz camp was very good for her 🙂
Francesca, 2.place cat. M2 5:18.57. Barbara, 3.place cat M1 5:22.04.
So all women on the podiums with Martina 2nd overall. Our man, Emanuelel placed 15. in his cat S2 4:59.03. Solid performance and well done!
Finally, my other 2 athletes were racing Challenge Walchsee where Alex did a new PB 4:44.2 and Emanuela, finished in 7:54.19.
Congratulations to all my athletes competing.
Recap from Coach Susie Langley:
Mariana Andrade on the way to a podium at Challenge Maceió.
Another exciting result this week for Mariana Andrade finishing third at the inaugural Challenge Maceió in Brazil. Mariana spent 4 weeks in St.Moritz over the summer training with the Trisutto.com team and it is great to see her being rewarded for all her hard work.
Finally, all coaches and athletes extend their best wishes to Jessie Donavan who was unfortunately hit by a truck whilst out on a training ride near Cape Cod last Friday. Jessie sustained various injuries but is expected her to make a full recovery. She will have surgery this week to repair a broken collar bone. We wish you well in your recovery Jessie and we know you will be back. Hurry slowly.
Congratulations to all athletes competing this weekend.
Trisutto.com online professional coaches are available to help improve your performance here.
Diana Riesler winning Ironman 70.3 Gdynia this weekend.
This weekend saw the Trisutto.com squad throw their full support behind the Home of Triathlon initiative here in St. Moritz. It was also a spectacular demonstration to our young pros about what it takes to be a true all round professional and champion.
On Saturday Nicola Spirig spent all day shaking hands, giving high-fives and signing autographs for the 119 competitors at the Kids Cup series that holds her name. This year they doubled the number of competitors in what turned out to be a terrific event. After starting the race, being on the finish line to watch every competitor finish and then presenting the awards ceremony – who do you think Coach spots on the bike at 6pm, swim bag over the shoulder preparing for the next day’s race?
Nicola Spirig Kids Cup presentation ceremony.
The Top of the World Triathlon
On what is now home turf the Trisutto.com squad were out in full force for the adult’s race on the Sunday. One of the reasons we have the success we do within our squad is because of the mutual respect our athletes have for each other. Respect in that while everyone remains friends off the course, all know when the starter gun goes off no-one takes any prisoners. So there was no walkover in this race with our Honey Badger (Mary Beth Ellis) sticking it to the short course champs on the swim and bike. Trisutto.com swept the podium with Ritchie doing a good job to run away with it, chased home by the impressive up-and-comers Alan Carillo and Reiny Brown. The latter being given a little lesson is aggressive race riding by the female World Long Course and Olympic Champ.
In the women’s race, Nicola, weathered the early onslaught to take out the inaugral Home of Triathlon race and was followed in by Eimear Mullan and MBE.
Well done to all.
The squad in action at the HoT Triathlon this weekend: Ritchie Nicholls (1st), Alan Carillo (2nd), Reiny Brown (3rd), Mary Beth Ellis (3rd), Eimear Mullan (2nd) and Nicola Spirig (1st).
Elsewhere, congratulations to Julie Derron who took out the Swiss Junior Championship in Nyon this weekend riding down the top girls and proving to strong on the run. Trent Simmons also did a great job with a solid performance to take the 2nd fastest run split in the men’s race.
Finally, very happy for age group athlete Alicja Medak, who won Ironman 70.3 Gdynia this weekend taking her age group in her home country of Poland.
Victory in Trisutto.com colours for Alicja Medak this weekend.
Race Recap from Coach Jo Spindler:
Second time within two weeks Dian Riesler has found herself on top of the podium.
It really looks like Diana likes racing in Poland, as she has now won the 2 most prestigiuos races there within only 2 weeks! This weekend, she backed-up her performance at Challenge Poznan with a win at Ironman 70.3 Gdynia. Diana exited the water in 2nd position, only 45 seconds back to first. Thanks to her traditional super-strong bike performance, she took over the lead at 10km on the bike course and extended her margin to second place to 5 minutes when hopping off the bike. She continued to gain time on the run course and won the race with a superior lead of 13 minutes. At the finish line, Diana was very happy:
“Finally I could win my first Ironman 70.3 title! That is fantastic! We worked very hard to get my speed up so that I am not only competitive at long distance races but also over shorter distances. I’m glad that the hard training of the past months paid off today.”
Coach Jo was also pleased with Diana’s performance:
“In Poznan she won the race with a strong run, but she almost lost the race on the swim. Today she won the race with strong swim and bike performances. Since Posnan we adjusted some things in the pool and found the ‘missing link’. I’m happy that today her swim is back to what it should be.”
Well done Diana!
Oliver Klaus blazing away at the Top of the World Triathlon this weekend.
Oliver Klaus was the athlete who stood up for my squad at St. Moritz Top of the World Triathlon in St. Moritz. He hit the podium in 3rd place – despite coach gave him a 5hr bike ride the day before to tire his legs for the race. The tiredness of that ride should protect him from going to hard on this sprint distance triathlon. However, it looks like Oli outraced his legs. 😉 Oli enjoyd the race very much. It’s just a fantastic landscape up there! Great job, Oli. Nice way to start the training road to Kona!
Race Recap from Coach Lisbeth Kristensen:
1st place and onto the World Champs for Kitty Perle.
I’m a very happy coach this weekend! Kitty finished Dublin 70.3 and won her age group, 30-34, in 4.59.03!! It seemed as if it was a tough course. She was a bit back on the swim but then she hammered on the bike and she had the fastest run and bike split. She qualified for World Champs in Australia next year! She’s been working so hard and I’m very proud of her!
Fran Bungay also just became the European Champion in her age group, 40-44! She’s just brilliant on the bike. She had a good swim too and the run is come nicely along too!
Here is Fran’s take on the race:
After a great bit of training in the Alpes and the short course Alpe D’Huez triathlon race, (winning my age group, top 10 finish and posting the third fastest bike split up the mountain), I headed over to Germany to race in the European 70.3 Championships in Wiesbaden. I was disappointed to learn that the swim start was changed to a rolling start, turning the race into a time-trial, and resulting in a horrible messy swim, worst I have experienced in a long time in terms of being pulled at the ankles, swum over, hit, etc. However, was pleased to hit the hilly bike course and put some time between me and my fellow competitors! 10 minutes faster on the bike than last year, (which must have something to do with those mountain hill reps!) the key was to keep the legs moving on the run! With still a fair bit of work to do on the run due to a few years of injury, I have to really focus on being positive, and Coach Lisbeth has given me a few aspects to focus on which were working really well… Until on lap 3 I fell on a manhole cover, twisting and damaging my ankle. With only a lap and a bit to go, I obviously carried on, and on finishing headed to First Aid! Really pleased to have finished as European Champion in my age group! So heading to physio tomorrow to assess the damage. With under three weeks to go until the World Championships I’m hoping for a quick fix!!
Fran at the awards ceremony.
Race Recap from Coach Andres Castillo:
He’s back. Great return to racing for Brian Moya!
This was a good weekend for my athletes, starting with Alan Carrillo with a second place at the St. Moritz triathlon in his preparation for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in 3 weeks. In Bogota, Brian Moya returned to triathlon world after a broken collarbone 2 months ago with a win in the Colombian National cup and just 2 weeks after his 2nd place in the duathlon Pan American Championship. In the same race Juan Herrera was second in his age group. For my US athletes, Rob Straznitskas was 3rd overall at the Maine State Triathlon and Walter Rhee did a good training race in Texas in his preparation for Ironman 70.3 Texas.
Well done squad. Keep up the good work.
Race Recap from Coach Luis Villavicencio:
Very proud of my athlete Daniel Barrundia competing in the Collegiate Nationals this weekend. Daniel is an incredible kid, he attends a very prestigious university in the US (Georgia Tech), has a computer science major plus an internship with IBM!
Today he placed 30th from over 410 males beat 90% of the field! This is his recap:
This weekend, my teammates of the Georgia Tech Triathlon and I competed in the Olympic-Distance National Championships in Milwaukee, Wis. This was for all an A-Race and a great way to finish up some really hard training we put over the summer.
Less than a year ago when I started training with you my mind set was completely different. I was just starting with triathlon and I was trying just to finish up races. Hard to believe that this weekend I had a plan set in mind and goals that I wanted to achieve!
Like my coach always says: ‘trust your training and race smart’. Thanks to your advice and training I was able to accomplish these goals and have a new PR.
I can’t wait for the upcoming races of the season and specially my first Ironman 70.3 in Miami at the end of October.
Race Recap from Coach Robbie Haywood:
Melanie and the champ at St. Moritz.
A super weekend again with my Trisutto.com athletes racing in Ireland, Germany and Switzerland.
Melanie Benson after a 12 day visit to train with us in St Moritz headed into 70.3 Weisbaden. I can’t be happier with Mel’s attitude and progress this year. Despite a race morning stumble, resulting in a suspected broken toe, she had the fastest swim in her category, and a solid ride before calling it a day early in the run. We can do a lot with Mels ‘improvise and overcome’ attitude 🙂
Sarah Keller returned to St Moritz (after attending camp two weeks ago) to race in the Top Of The World Triathlon, in St Moritz. Sarah was first female out of the swim in her wave, and did a super job all day. Sarah improves ever week, as she builds back to full fitness after some time away from the sport.
Neil Scholes secured a 5th place finish in 70.3 Dublin. Coming from a background of 30 years marathon running Neil has worked diligently on his swim, and was in good company today right from the gun. Still work to be done, but we are on our way.
Gisela Reichmuth, her brother and her husband raced Flumserei Duathlon, placing 2nd overall team. A ‘fun in the sun’ race day, and a reminder that there are some super local races out there to enjoy 🙂
Sarah Keller exiting the water this weekend.
Congratulations to all athletes competing this weekend.
As our pro squad prepares for the ITU World Long Distance Championships and the European full-distance Ironman season, our age group squad carried the flag proudly this weekend with some tremendous results.
Recap from coach Jo Spindler:
Thomas Ibach won his age group at the Spreewald Triathlon over the Olympic distance by 20 minutes. He had a very good run and this result should give him a lot of confidence for a big effort at Ironman Frankfurt in 2 weeks time.
Sando Wechsung was the fastest guy overall at the Hualian Rafting Triathlon. A unique race in Taiwan, which consists of 11km rafting down a river, 12km run through the mountains and 44km cycling on the coastal highway. Yes, this is the correct order: boat, run, bike and potentially this format offers a bright future for all swim-challenged athletes 😉 . However, Sando did very well at Challenge Taiwan earlier this year and profed successfully that he is also a force in the water. Congrats to this nice win!
Sando Wechsung competing in the Hualian Rafting Tri.
Steffen Warias won a local 5.6 run. Also an overall win. It’s a very nice result for him as he cannot remember when or if he ever was first overall in the race. Steffen is running a gourmet restaurant in Merseburg – Ritters Weinstuben – which I highly recommend if you want to reward yourself with an ultimate taste experience. He is fitting in his workouts into a demanding and fully packed day and is still able to improve his athletic abilities.
Moritz joining a swim session at the Trisutto.com camp.
Moritz Bachmann had a superb race at Ironman 70.3 Luxembourg and improved his personal best over the half distance by as much as 17 minutes! Looks, that his quick visit of one of the trisutto camps 2 weeks ago and all the dedicated and good work over the winter payed hughe dividends. I’m very pleased with his progress and looking forward to him racing Roth in 3 weeks time.
Another podium for Thomas Schäfer.
Finally, after to World Cup podiums, paracyclist and duracell engine Thomas Schäfer stormed to another podium at a 52 MTB marathon in Biesenrode, Germany. Just to put it straight: This was not a paralcycling MTB race, Thomas was 3rd overall amongst all riders – including all non-handicapped athletes as well. The race consisted of 2 loops and Thomas roade in a leading group of 3. Unfortunately he crashed on a descend but could carry on. He still had to stop another time to align saddle and handlebar straight again which pointed in different directions after the crash. First 2 guys were gone after this and he crossed the finish line in 3rd with not other touchdown.
Very well done to all and congrats to everyone racing this weekend!
Excellent performance from Paul Stiekema at Ironman 70.3 Victoria.
Coach Dan McIntosh:
Paul, like most of my athletes, is consistent and works hard in training so I have full confidence in his potential to produce a great result at Ironman Canada later this year. However, he hasn’t been racing 70.3 or Ironman events recently so we recently put Victoria 70.3 on the calendar to serve as an opportunity to check in during the build up and identify strengths and weaknesses in a race environment.
First the weaknesses:
1. Paul learned that shell fish as a part of prerace feeding is a risky deal.
2. We’re working on improving his swim speed and strength and after a “good” swim warmup he positioned himself at the front, prepared to start strong and hold onto the lead pace. His effort was strong but struggled with finding a good draft in a congested swim and had to swim around groups, costing time and energy.
3. Paul started the bike in a solid steady effort but encountered lots of slow traffic from earlier waves and had difficulty judging his pacing relative to the competition.
1. Despite an unfortunate bout with seafood, Paul’s mental resilience persevered and in typical fashion he acknowledged the mistake, accepted the responsibility, put on a brave(albeit green) face and lined up to give a best effort.
2. Paul is very coach-able and despite some inconsistencies in effort early on, when he reached 60k, per the race plan, he trusted the training and increased his effort, producing a negative split.
3. Onto the run, his GPS wasn’t working so he relied on training and ran off of feel, keeping even pace through each mile and finished the last 5k at top effort, negative splitting the run as well. Being able to refocus and draw on preparation in training was critical in producing the race he did despite the mistakes made early on.
Overall he was disappointed in not coming away with the win but the 5 minute deficit can be eliminated by overcoming mistakes.
We took a few recovery days but due to his strong foundation we were quick to get back to work and with 6 weeks to prepare we are looking forward to putting together a great race in Whistler BC.
Professional athlete, Aya Stevens. Athlete Photography by James Mitchell
Coach Bella Bayliss:
Aya was 7th at Ironman 70.3 Luxembourg this weekend.
Aya had not run since her 8th place at Ironman Lanzarote but she has worked hard keeping her swim and bike training and water running too. Now she is running again and building up for her next Ironman. Well done keeping everything going and staying strong whilst having the little problem.
Swiss athlete Marc Settler had a great race at Zug Olympic distance race in Switzerland. His first triathlon of the year after busy months of work and study. More to work on but all on track and Enjoying the challenge. Well done Marc!
Coach Lisbeth Kristensen:
Melanie Baumann came 2nd in her age group today, in Challenge Heilbronn, she was fastest in the swim and the bike and a few seconds slower on the run but she lost time in transition!! Would have won had the transition not counted, needs to practice this 4th discipline more, she was 16th fastest pro out of all the women, including pros so she’s going really well and getting ready for Frankfurt in 2 weeks.
Erica Govan raced Toronto Olympic distance on the weekend, she was 2nd in her age group and qualified for ITU World’s in Cozumel next year, she did a PB overall and she ran her fastest 10 km ever, in 45 min, rode 1.06 and had one of her best swims, in 27 min. Great work!
Well done also to Susie Langley coached athlete Terrence Hines in Denmark with his best half ironman result in 6 years. He continues to make great inroads on his running and is great to see his confidence returning Well done mate!
Robbie Haywood coached athletes also had a successful weekend: Chiin Hooi Tan, 3rd in age category at 70.3 Kronborg in Denmark, and qualified for 70.3 World Champs. Mark Richardson, 1st in age category and 5th overall at Boskman Triathlon in the New Forest, UK.
Well done to all competing this weekend.
Age group athlete Kitty Perle training in Gran Canaria recently. Photo Rob Holden Photography.
At the moment I’m in Maspalomas in Gran Canaria training for a few days. Every morning while I’m swimming at the public pool in town, there is a young girl training with her Mum. She is an awesome little swimmer. She glides up and down the pool effortlessly. I got chatting to her mother the other morning. She’s been swimming competitively for her home nation – Denmark – since she was 7. She’s 13 now. I find myself incredibly jealous of this young girl. She will never know the struggle of learning to swim as an adult!
Growing up in Ireland in the 80’s, swimming was not something that we did as kids. I vaguely remember our junior school bringing us on the bus to the local pool a handful of times for lessons, but my lasting memory of those trips were the extra sandwiches my mother would make for after the swim lessons. (I would have the sambos eaten before the bus even left the school car park). Swimming was not something that we took seriously as a sport or hobby in Ireland back then, unlike kids in Australia or other European countries for example who all seem to get their kids in the water as toddlers. It was in Australia one afternoon when I was 25 that I realised I was possibly the only adult on the beach that couldn’t swim. I decided I would learn to swim when I got home.
So back to swimming lessons I went. (No sambos from my Mam this time.) The amount of information coming from the various instructors was overwhelming. Put your hand here, keep your head there, turn your body 56 degrees to the right while keeping your foot turned in. It was mind boggling. I vaguely remember something about moving my hand like I was scooping ice cream from a tub being involved at one point. It was no surprise with all that stuff floating around my head that when I got into the pool I resembled a drunk person doing samba in the water. I continued to drunken samba my way up and down the pool for a few years. Falling off the back of the pack after 50 metres became the norm. Times never improving. Losing interest. Failing to understand what I was meant to be doing at all. Inventing excuses not to go to sessions. Swim sessions were like turning up to a party where everyone was speaking Italian. I would nod my head here and smile there so that it looked like I knew what was going on – going through the motions – but I hadn’t a clue. My swim times in races when I started competing in triathlons showed this.
Recent feedback on Twitter about the straight arm technique used by Trisutto.com coaches.
Then last summer I had the opportunity to go to St. Moritz in Switzerland to train with Brett and his squad. After a few minutes Brett was able to confirm that I was indeed a “challenged swimmer”. He told me to forget all the stuff I had been told by various swim coaches on how to swim perfectly, and listen to three things that would get me swimming faster in triathlon. For me it was to throw my arm over like a cricket bowler, straight arm all the way around and keep that rhythm going and while being aggressive with the water. This was to stop my arms flailing all over the place like they had been doing for the last couple of years. No wonder I was going nowhere in the water. The other thing Brett told to do was to swim with a pull buoy, or better still for a shorty like me – two pull buoys stuck together, as much as I could from now on. This would help me work on my new stroke, but more importantly would make swimming a bit more enjoyable. And if I’m enjoying it, I’ll do it.
So off I went back to Dublin to practice my new stroke. All winter I’ve been bowling up and down the pool. Sure, It ain’t pretty. I won’t win any admirers from the pool deck like that Danish girl swimming in Maspalomas. And I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been given “helpful hints” to correct my stroke by well-meaning people in my local pool or scoffed at for my two pull buoys superglued together. BUT, my swim times are way down on last summer. And they keep going down. Not only am I hanging on to the back of the pack for the sets at swim sessions now, but I’m leading out the lane. And most importantly – I’ve learned to love swimming! I used to find any excuse to skip swim training, now I look forward to it. Swimming used to be the necessary evil to get through in a race before I could hop on my bike and do what I love best. Now I’ll start races much more confident and not just hope to “get through” the swim.
So if the aim of the game for the “swim challenged” age-group triathlete is to swim faster, and get onto the bike not completely exhausted and demoralized, then it’s time to stop trying to do impressions of Phelps in that water and find the stroke that works for you. It just so happens that it’s doing impressions of a cricket bowler that works for me!”
Kitty is trained by Trisutto.com coach Lisbeth Kristensen. Lisbeth and our Trisutto.com team of online coaches are available to help improve your performance here.
Age-group athlete Rafal Medak using the straight arm technique. Not always pretty, but very effective in finding rhythm for those coming from non-swim backgrounds.