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Tips and Tricks from One of Triathlon’s Fastest Swimmers

This butterflier turned long-distance swimmer turned Ironman wowed the world when she placed second in her Kona debut last year.

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This butterflier turned long-distance swimmer turned Ironman wowed the world when she placed second in her Kona debut last year. Her not-so-secret weapon: a killer swim. Lucy Charles’ lightning-fast 2.4-mile time of 48:48 put her within seconds of the top male pros and more than four minutes ahead of eventual winner Daniela Ryf, who spent much of the bike scrambling to make up the deficit. Below, Charles’ top tips for wrangling gear and becoming a super swimmer.

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Join a Club
The main thing with swimming is to try to make it as interesting as possible. Find a group of masters swimmers or triathlete swimmers so it makes it a bit more social, and you’ve got a more competitive element. It makes it a bit more exciting.

Have a Plan
I never really wanted to get in the pool at 5 o’clock in the morning, but it’s so much easier if you’ve got a coach telling you what to do or have a session planned. You’ll be more motivated to get in and smash out your session.

Go for Max Flexibility
You don’t want a wetsuit that’s too restrictive on your shoulders, because that’s where you’re going to get the most power from your stroke.

Put in Yards Before You Race
Wetsuits aren’t the most comfortable new; you’ll want to put some time in them before you race.

Know Thy Weaknesses
Wetsuits are very individual to the person. So if you’ve got someone who struggles with their legs sinking, they’ll want something more buoyant in the leg.

RELATED: Triathlon Swim Tips For All Levels