I never thought that sprint triathlon or triathlon swimming would ever be part of my vocabulary. It can be part of your vocabulary. I started in my 50s it has been and is still such an adventure and learning curve.
I highly recommend it for any woman, whether she is 15 or 50plus.
swimming at school and beyond
When I was in high school I did swim competitively, but it was not a strength of mine. I was mostly part of a relay team. Individual heats were not my thing. Do not let your school experience or lack thereof prevent you from trying.
If you think that to start swimming in your 50s is too late, it is not!
Yes, you can.
Swimming is one of the best low-impact sports that is also fun and good for all of us. If you would even vaguely consider starting to try a sprint triathlon, go for it – it is possible.
If you cannot swim, go for lessons – there are plenty of opportunities out there. Get a friend or family member to help you. Or, go to a swimming pool and treat yourself to some lessons. Start with 10 and go from there. You will love it.
basic swimming equipment needed
To be able to do the swimming or to do a sprint triathlon some of the following equipment will be very helpful. None of them cost a bomb and won’t break the bank!
From top to toe.
A swimming cap is very useful for protecting your hair. It helps to prevent your hair from getting into your face and irritating you. The first couple of times putting it on can be a struggle. Sometimes it feels like your eyes are popping out and your head is being squeezed.
They are inexpensive and can easily be bought at your local pool, sports shop, or online. There are many choices to suit any taste.
Goggles are the next important piece of equipment to have. I have goggles and while I am happy with them, I am not yet convinced that they are the best fit for me yet. Keep shopping around until you find what fits you.
I wear contact lenses so opening my eyes underwater is not an option for me. One of the fun things I have discovered is the joy of being able to see underwater. The local swimming pool, maybe not, but in open water it is fun. There is a whole world to discover underwater with goggles. You can wear them in a freshwater lake as well as in the sea. This will expand your swimming experience.
You will find that you take your goggles on holiday with you and not only use them for swimming training.
sprint triathlon swimming suit
The swimsuit can be anything you feel most comfortable in. Don’t rush out and buy anything special, use what you have. When I signed up for my first sprint triathlon I knew I’d need to get something decent. I bought a Speedo full-body swimsuit and I still use it and am happy with it.
I also bought myself a pair of swimming shorts. They are super because I was not ready to buy myself a tri-suit. There are some super tri-suits for women and men on the market, maybe next year!
The swimming shorts are great because I can swim, cycle and run in them. Being such a beginner in all of this, I choose to do this as simply as possible.
I’ve used the shorts when I swim with others and want to have more coverage of my body too. This has been a super solution. I do not always use my Speedo under the shorts but have used other swimsuits that I have. This is a very versatile option.
Whether I need flip-flops when I’m going down to the beach or the local pool, I always grab my flip-flops. They last a very long time and so I love their quality. Flip-flops are useful in public showers when you want to protect your feet from picking up any nasties there. They are practical and pretty.
They come in a range of colors and qualities. Treat yourself to a good pair as they are so versatile.
The last basic thing on my list of necessities for triathlon swimming is a towel.
One regular beach towel is a simple thing to grab from your cupboard. Do not go to the extra expense of buying a new one – use what you have at home.
Recently I bought a microfibre towel and it has been a new essential for me to carry with me when I travel. I’ve used it to wipe my sweaty brow when I’ve gone for a jog in a very hot place on holiday. I was ready to go after the run when I quickly jumped into the sea to cool off. It is super compact to pack and to have rolled up in your hand when you jog.
how to train for the sprint triathlon swimming
I had and still do not have access to a trainer, neither a professional nor a friend. The next best thing for me was the internet. I knew that I would be able to swim any reasonable length doing breaststroke, but I wanted to improve my crawl.
My daughter who has recently joined me can do a very decent-paced breaststroke, so she can comfortably swim doing that stroke. When you do the 400m swim in the sprint triathlon, you can do any stroke.
I found a super training program from Garmin and tried to stick to it as best as possible. What I love about Garmin is that you can find a training program to fit your needs. It is super because you get access to their training programs when you have a watch and do not have to pay every year.
When I switched from my first Garmin watch to my new Garmin watch, all my data was stored and continued from there.
I also found the Global Triathlon Network on YouTube. This channel has tips, advice, and training plans for absolute beginners the advanced athletes. I find them to be very informative and helpful, give them a try.
where to swim in preparing for your sprint triathlon swimming
I have access to public swimming pools and outdoor lakes.
The public pools are great because you can go to them no matter what the weather is like or what the temperature is like. The disadvantage to this option though is that it is very different from the outdoor swim that you’ll be doing in the triathlon. There are triathlons done using indoor pools, and if that is what you’ll be doing then you will be fine. Go ahead, keep training indoors.
If your race will be in the sea/ocean, you’ll have to do a large number of your swims in the sea. The other option would be in a lake. The conditions of a lake are also so different from an indoor pool, so please do most of your training in the lake.
sprint triathlon swimming and overcoming obstacles
You know you’ll be swimming outside, what to do though when it is cold?
Buy a wetsuit.
This may sound daunting, but give it a try. Once you have bought the suit, then you have so much more freedom. Being used to wearing a suit will also prepare you well for it and when you’ll be needing one in a real race.
The prices range, so start with the most basic one and enjoy a new outdoor experience.
Please swim with someone either watching you or swimming with you.
Don’t be discouraged by the swim in the race. Prepare well and you’ll enjoy it.
If this has encouraged you to give a sprint triathlon a try, let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you. You do not have to be super fit, you can start where you are at. I’m loving this journey even though I still doubt myself daily.