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Help for a Novice Swimmer?
CREATED: 03/14/09 by mmjirik REPLIES: 10
mmjirik    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 5
Help for a Novice Swimmer?
POSTED: 3/14/09 2:32 PM

When in the pool, I am able to avoid drowning, but I wouldn't consider myself a swimmer. Are there any resources or coaches recommended for people new to swimming? My nearby pool is at Eastern Market. I know some club members meet there in the morning, but I am afraid I am not advanced enough to swim laps with them.

themoneyman's ravatar themoneyman    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 18
RE: Help for a Novice Swimmer?
POSTED: 3/14/09 4:00 PM

You might want to visit a swim store and get some training gear (flippers and paddles). The pool where I swim has kick boards and buoys for use.

Once you have the gear, it should be a lot easier to start swimming and doing drills.

I swim & train in a masters program where even the iron men train and do kick drills (kick board & flippers), pull drills (paddles & buoy) or just long swims (500m or 20 lengths or 10 laps) with their flippers on to extend the workout.

I would suggest the Sunday ($10 per session pay as you go) sessions as a goo stroke clinic.


kemerson    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 64
RE: Help for a Novice Swimmer?
POSTED: 3/15/09 11:26 AM

I am a novice swimmer as well. Maybe we could plan to go together.

rbenig1's ravatar rbenig1    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 26
RE: Help for a Novice Swimmer?
POSTED: 3/15/09 6:27 PM

Hey guys. I'm in the same boat. I'd also like to begin swimming at Eastern market in the mornings but not too sure if they cater to newbies either. Maybe we can take the swim clinics together?

siehndel's ravatar siehndel    JOINED: 11/25/05    POSTS: 1104
RE: Help for a Novice Swimmer?
POSTED: 3/15/09 7:49 PM

It's easy to be intimidated when jumping into an established workout group but don't let it hold you back. Come to a couple of swims and check it out. There are typically a couple of lanes of DC Tri folks and they are grouped according to pace. At Eastern Market, there are usually DC Tri folks in the 2 lanes on the right. Let them know you are new and not a great swimmer and they'll help you into the right lane.

Re: Swim equipment. Pull buoys and kickboards are great. If you aren't an experienced swimmer, I'd highly encourage you to lay off of the paddles. You can really put undo stress on your shoulders and invite injury if you don't know how to use them correctly.

Great questions... keep them coming!


skelly99's ravatar skelly99    JOINED: 3/1/09    POSTS: 37
RE: Help for a Novice Swimmer?
POSTED: 3/16/09 5:17 PM

I'm in the NTP and new to triathlons, but used to swim competitively and coached/taught a lot (but in am no way an expert and it was a long time ago). It sounds like the clinics are a great idea. I would just say that it is important to get the mechanics of a decent stroke, good breathing, etc. down first, because that will save a lot of energy and make you much more efficient and comfortable in the water. Once you get those down, and factor in the accessories etc people recommended above, you'll be doing laps in no time. If I can help in any way, or you just want to bounce some ideas around about the basics, feel free to hit me up and I'll help if I can. Good luck!!


fezzo's ravatar fezzo    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 2
RE: Help for a Novice Swimmer?
POSTED: 3/16/09 5:31 PM

Mmjirik, thanks for your frank comment! I feel the same way. I hope to join the EMP swims later in the spring, but for now I plan to take some private swim lessons at the National Capital YMCA (17th & Rhode Island, in Farragut). Seth makes a good point about starting with correct mechanics, and I suspect I'll need some individualized attention to get those down. Email me if you want more information, or if you want to tackle an early AM swim at EMP together!


alya72's ravatar alya72    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 49
RE: Help for a Novice Swimmer?
POSTED: 3/17/09 11:44 AM

For those of you who want more individualized help but aren't ready to shell out for private lessons (and are waiting for the NTP swim clinics to happen), a great place to start is the Sunday night swim at American University. They usually split up according to ability and take the beginners into a smaller pool for stroke work and drills.


philotri's ravatar philotri    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 253
RE: Help for a Novice Swimmer?
POSTED: 3/17/09 11:52 AM

I also recommend the Total Immersion book/drills as a way to get down the basics of form. Working with a coach is definitely better, but the TI drills can help you get started.

jonathan_simon's ravatar jonathan_simon    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 7
RE: Help for a Novice Swimmer?
POSTED: 4/05/09 8:49 PM

I know the masters program started at AU this evening. (April 5th)

Can anyone drop in on Sunday nights?

ncrcoach's ravatar ncrcoach    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1101
RE: Help for a Novice Swimmer?
POSTED: 4/06/09 1:08 AM

Come by Catholic U. this week, especially on Wednesday as I will be assisting from the deck instead of swimming. Don't want to hate on TI, but there are some things in there that I am not a fan of. Also, don't be intimidated by showing up to swim at EMP during the week. There is a good range of swimming abilities at each workout.

Plus, one thing that I have noticed at swim workouts, is that swim technique is very important for swim improvement.

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