LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The triathlon combines endurance swimming, biking, and running, all in the same race. Proper training involves knowledge in all three disciplines, which many athletes may not have. To help you make waves during the race, consider taking a triathlon swim class.
Emily Howe, one of the instructors for the YMCA’s Triathlon Swim Classes, says that many athletes are not swimming as efficiently as possible. “You are not just working your shoulders, or your core, or you legs. You are working all three of these together. You want to make sure that you have all of the technical advantages that you can, especially in a competitive atmosphere,” says Emily. In class, instructors will group you based on your swimming background to give you type of training you need. Typical workouts range from technical training to work on your form and breathing, to endurance building sessions to build you up to the distance you’ll be racing.
One of the YMCA’s class participants, Kevin Schleicher, will be a first-time triathlete this summer, and says that time in the pool with instructors has been a big help. "It's still a little daunting to me. My last swim lesson was over 15 years ago. It just feels good to get into the pool, and have the expertise of the coaches to help you better perfect your stroke. One of the hardest parts of swimming is learning to perfect your breathing and your stroke, which I didn't know until coming to this class."
The vast majority of triathlon swims take place in lakes or oceans, so particular attention is directed toward swimming in open water. Instructors will get into the pool with participants and create waves that the athletes will practice swimming through. Special attention is paid toward swimming within a set lane and avoiding other athletes, which is key during the mass swim during a triathlon.
The YMCA offers triathlon swim classes during the spring. During the summer, the Bluff Busters Tri Team has training sessions at Lake Neshonoc and Lake Wazee, as conditions and member schedules allow.