Lacking proper swim technique to take on the Ironman triathlon is one of the most common fears of the novice ironman.

Chances are they are much like I was in the beginning and learned how to swim just so they could enter the Ironman.

I have indelible memories of the early years of my Ironman career when I simply had no clue what I was doing when it came to the Ironman swim.

My goal was the Ironman finish line and the swim was little more than a hurdle and necessary evil that had to be dealt with any way possible. Any thoughts of proper swim technique were not in the equation for me in those early days.

I remember the apprehension I felt standing knee deep in the warm waters of Kona harbor awaiting the start gun of the my first Ironman In 1984.


Ironman Hawaii swim course

I had just learned how to swim and had yet to experience my first open water swim. This was going to be that first swim.

I had thoughts of slowly sinking into the depths of the harbor once I was a few hundred meters from shore, because I knew that once I was past the 50 meter mark, I was in foreign territory. There would no longer be a wall for me to hang on


Basically moving my arms as fast as possible was my basic swim technique strategy. I thought that if I could do that, I wouldn’t sink. On the downside, if I stopped moving my arms as fast as I could I would surely drown.

As luck would have it, I must have been in pretty good shape because I managed all one hour and forty-two minutes of the swim that day without slowing my wind-milling arms for even a second.

When I think back to that day and the early Ironman races of my career that followed I am continually amazed at the energy I must have wasted in those early Ironman swims.

I simply didn’t know any better and it would take years and about eight Ironman races before I began to figure out how a poorly executed swim and lack of proper technique was having such a negative impact on my over-all Ironman performances.


Once I finally realized that better body positioning and developing a long, smooth, relaxed stroke were the key to a successful Ironman swim, I began to look forward to the swim leg of the Ironman rather than fear it.

One of the most important things you might ever learn about refining your swim stroke is that moving your arms faster is not the key to swimming faster. Actually it’s the measure of the time it takes your body to go from point A to point B.


The pace you use and not the speed is the key to reaching your destination.

How many of us have run the first two or three miles of a marathon or 10K race much too fast only to find that we could not possibly sustain the pace?

Not only could we not sustain it, we might even slow down drastically or even begin to walk as the race progresses.

If only you had run slower, you would have raced faster. The key to a successful long run or long swim or any endurance event is the pace.

Once you figure that out, the goal should be to refine your stroke so that you can maintain that ideal pace for the duration of your swim.


It was stumbling onto the Total Immersion swim technique many years ago that changed my Ironman swim technique forever. I learned proper balance and body positioning in the water and that in turn improved all aspects of my Ironman swim.

I was soon able to hold a strong, steady pace for the entire 2.4 miles of the Ironman swim and at the same time, feel refreshed and ready for the bike when I stepped out of the water.

If you are struggling with your comfort level and over-all swim performance, then Total Immersion can turn that around in a hurry.

The Total Immersion swim technique has been used by beginner triathletes and novice Ironmen all over the world.

TOTAL IMMERSION is offering all IronStruck visitors a 10% discount on Books, DVD’s, and all other Total Immersion teaching tools.

Simply click on the total immersion box in the right margin.



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