Ask Coach Sara: Approaching Swim Buoys

Your Twitter questions about swimming as a triathlete, answered by coach Sara McLarty.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Your Twitter questions about swimming as a triathlete, answered by coach Sara McLarty.

Q: Is it better to swim wide when approaching a turn or straight toward the buoy?

Turn buoys are the most chaotic and congested places during an open-water swim. Maintain your speed by swimming wide around the buoy and stay away from the flailing arms and legs of other swimmers. A few extra yards are worth not getting your goggles knocked off.

RELATED – Ask Coach Sara: Simulating Open Water And More

Q: What’s the biggest hurdle former pool swimmers must overcome in the open water?

The open-water swimming motto is: No lines, no lanes, no walls. Pool swimmers need to swim straight without a black line to follow, become comfortable with swimmer-to-swimmer contact, and build endurance to swim the complete distance without any breaks.

Q: My calves often cramp at the end of swim workouts. Any ideas for preventing this?

First off, don’t forcefully point your toes while swimming—maintain a relaxed ankle. Secondly, are you maintaining adequate hydration and nutrition during swim practice? Finally, make sure you’re improving your overall flexibility with regular stretching and massage.

RELATED – Ask Coach Sara: Building Swim Stamina And More

Q: To go from 1:20 per 100 to 1:10, which is most important to improve: (a) fitness (b) strength (c) catch (d) position?

E, all of the above. Unfortunately, there isn’t just one thing that can make you a faster swimmer. It’s a combination of improving efficiency, increasing strength and power, and just putting in lots of time and hard work.

Got a swimming question? Coach Sara wants to help. Just tweet your queries to @SaraLMcLarty.

More swimming advice.

Jan Frodeno Reflects on His Final Ironman World Championship

Immediately after finishing 24th place at his final Ironman World Championships, the Olympic medalist (and three-time IMWC winner) explains what his race in Nice meant to him.