Triathlon Swimming during Olympic Games

The men’s triathlon was an epic race, finally won by Alistair Brownlee with a stunning 29:07 10K run. But it all started with the fast swim.
An electric pace was set throughout the 1500m wetsuit swim by Richard Varga, exciting the water in 16:56 – a very fast split indeed, even at the very highest level of triathlon. Having someone pace things out so quickly at the front really strung out the field with numerous small clusters of swimmers forming rather than the massive packs often seen at world cup races. Watching the swim two things were immediately apparent. First, in stark contrast to many of the male swimmers in the pool, nearly all the triathletes were using markedly straight arm recoveries over the surface. This helped them clear the wake and disturbed water from other swimmers and also get closer to other swimmers around them, increasing the drafting benefit available to them. Opening out the elbow angle to create a straighter arm also reduces the fatigue on the shoulders that even the most flexible wetsuit can introduce if a classical high elbow technique is used.



Second, all of the athletes were turning their arms over very quickly, using a fast stroke rate in the 80-90 strokes per minute region.The benefit of this shorter stroke with lots of rhythm is that it reduces (or entirely removes) the gap between propulsive strokes underwater which means the swimmer can’t get stalled by waves or chop in the gap between strokes.

Quick Stats:
Gold: Alistair Brownlee: 89 SPM
Silver: Javier Gomez – 82 SPM
Bronze: Johnny Brownlee: 92 SPM


About swimbikerun1
Devoted Father, Husband and Employee.Endurance sports fanatic (running,cycling,swimming).Triathlon athlete and coach.If only days had more than 24 hours.

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