A course, run by Bassetlaw Triathlon Club, that converts novices into confident swimmers has been completed by a tenth cohort of athletes.
Most triathletes agree that their least favoured discipline is the swim. Although it is the shortest part of the race, it can test the nerve of even the most experienced athlete, especially a mass-start open-water swim.
However, a good swim can give them the edge in a triathlon, so that’s why coaches at the club launched their beginners-to-freestyle swimmers course four years ago.
Based on the hugely successful Swim Smooth method of teaching freestyle swimming, which was developed by Paul Newsome in 2004, the course begins by focusing on teaching swimmers to relax when entering the water.
Over the six-week course, athletes learn that the single most effective thing they can do to improve their swimming is to breathe properly. The course then moves on to examine stroke techniques and provides useful tips to help get a feel for the water.
One of the latest graduates, Dean Milner, of Worksop, said “I have done a triathlon before but could only swim breaststroke. I
knew Steve Chambers, the club’s head coach, and he suggested I try this course.
“I found it really useful and so with more practice at freestyle, I should perform better at any future triathlons I enter.”
Another graduate, Sharon Sutton from Retford, was an established outdoor swimmer, but she wasn’t very confident at freestyle. After the course, she said: “I now have a better understanding of the stroke and hope, with continued training at the club, to improve my levels of stamina for my outdoor swimming”
Chambers said: “This has been a great cohort. They have really supported one another throughout the course. It has been brilliant to see them develop.
“The small size of the group allowed for individual tips and encouragement from the coaches, alongside the support from
within the group. Building up confidence, especially with breathing, was a big part of the course.”
A new course will be available in 2020.