If anyone finds my swim please let me know

Just did ITU worlds in Lausanne. And my swim time was simply terrible. No excuses, no getting kicked, no panic attacks, I was just incapable of swimming fast… 2:10/km… I could have breaststroke faster. In June I was swimming at 1:45/km, all pace has gone, and I am at a loss why. I came 53rd in AG, but not a single person ahead swam slower than me. My bike and run were top 20. At this rate I need to switch to Duathlon

2:10/km? is that 2:10/100m?

Oh man. What variables were changed? Weather, wetsuit, currrnts?

Recent swim volume?

Yes, bit of brain fade

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It was non wetsuit, but I have done loads of NWS.

I suspect that it is due to lack of time in pool, been doing lots of open water swims, but nothing in pool for a couple of months.

In pool I push like mad to keep up with fast group, in open water I am lazy.

I think swim coach, time in pool and gym are required next season

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Been similar myself recently Matt, just a lack of actual swimming, mostly for me in the wetsuit which is probably why I swim slower in it.

I also find sometimes that in a race I’m actually trying to go faster and the stroke breaks down, on a couple of races I’ve just tried to stick to my cruise pace and got out quicker, albeit about 3 minutes slower on a 70.3 compared to a few years ago.

It is a mystery though, and frustrating if you can keep up with the faster people on the bike & run.


The only time I had similar was a few years ago I suddenly just couldn’t hit my pace targets in swim . Bike and run remained ok but I just couldn’t get my swim together. In the end think I turned out to be fatigue. Took a break and came back and was fine.

Possible you’ve lost a bit of form.but that’s quite a drop a d you have been swimming. Perhaps you’ve just switched off a bit. Get back in the po and see what happens.

It was very choppy, everyone’s times were down.

How did you feel when swimming? What have your volumes been lately (SBR). Was you just tired?

I think you’ve fallen into the trap of neglecting your weakest discipline, because you prefer biking & running :slightly_smiling_face: I reckon you’ve also correctly identified that you need to inject some pace/intervals into your swim sessions.

A lot of my OW swims in the last 2 seasons have been a bit slow for me, because I no longer push the swim for whatever reason (afraid of blowing-up, not chasing a time etc)

I go through a similar cycle pretty much every year (what’s that definition of insanity again?)
All winter I pool swim which consists of shorter intervals and varied pace then in summer I switch pretty much exclusively to open water where I do long continuous swims which end up at a fairly comfortable pace. When I go back to the pool (in the next few weeks) that top end will have gone and 25/50s will kill me.
I keep intending to break up my OW swims (one buoy hard, one buoy easy etc) but just get into that lazy cruising speed as it’s so enjoyable.

Hey Matt,

Not everyone will agree, but there is a school of thought that adult onset swimmers in triathlon should do almost all their swimming in a pool with a pull buoy, and a large proportion of that with paddles.
Have a look into it.

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Seems to be such contrasting info on using paddles/pull buoy. I’ve stayed away from pool toys as I’ve no real idea what I’m doing.

In the last 12 months I’ve gone from being around 1:50-1:55/100 to comfortably 1:40/100 in the pool. I did swim 1 hour 10 at Outlaw but consciously took that easy.

Had a 1 hour swim video analysis in an endless pool last October and have taken the feedback on board and worked with that. I’ll probably do the same this year too. Would be keen to see some more gains but don’t think I’ll be seeing such a jump

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That’s why so many MAMILs end up dreading non-wetsuit swims.

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mainly Brett Sutton, and what you need to remember is the type of age groupers and elites he trains are doing big hours and loads of strength work and are typically far from improvers so not convinced the guy swimming over 2min / 100 with poor body position is going to improve by adding strain onto his shoulders and artificially raising his legs. PB is a great tool, especially with tired legs, better to swim more good strokes than worry about poor BP when fatigued but it will become a crutch. Every IMJ type that follows this is flirting with cutoffs, that says it all for me.

Yeah, maybe. (well, true.) I find a gentle kick when I’m not using a PB seems to help without causing undue effort. I do make a concerted effort to keep a taught body even when swimming with the PB though, rather than let it do all the work :grinning:

Very true.
I have never ventured into IMJ so can’t comment on the strange contents.

It did work very well for me, I’m now consistently around 1hr ±1min in my IM swims and enjoy swim training much more. (I think my first IM swim was about 1.06 from distant memory, and had one other very bad experience at Zurich where I got on the wrong side of the rush for the 1st buoy and basically had to swim breaststroke to avoid be drowned.)

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I as a rule dont follow advice from convicted NONCEs (Sutton, not tuckngo for clarity :smile:) but I especially disagree with the paddles and pull buoys approach.

I have hardly ever used either and have gone from a non swimmer to be able to cruise round a 3.8km swim under 60min at relaxed effort. Sure they have a place but using them all the time is not ideal. I am sure it will work ok for some.

I use them proportionally a lot more now I’m training for tri than I did for swimming, but more because I feel I already have the right body position. My swim weakness is reliance on technique, can only maintain 60spm which doesn’t transfer that well to open water. So pull buoy paddles have a place for me I feel.

I’d suggest they have a place for everyone, but generally any dogma that says you should only do one thing is probably straight away wrong. The amount you want to use them varies on existing skill levels


Yes, a lot of people seem to treat OW swimming like pool swimming from a technique/stroke perspective. Their cadence is far too low, and too deliberate especially in choppy water. Just attack it!