The fastest and most efficient stroke, and the one most recommended for triathlons, is front crawl. For the best performance on the day, you need to concentrate on your stroke efficiency as well as your ability to cover the distance.

  • Aim to swim for at least 30 to 45 minutes twice a week while training
  • Work on your fitness development, technique and efficiency (a coach can be very helpful)
  • Slowly increase your sessions until you can complete the race distance
  • Next, work on completing the distance more quickly

Don’t worry if you can’t manage front crawl for the entirety of the swimming portion of the race, it’s fine to switch to breast stroke now and then to give your muscles a rest. In fact, you’ll probably see lots of other participants doing the same.

Help keep your energy high during training and racing with carbohydrate and protein-high meals and great pre-race/training snacks like fresh or dried fruit, yogurt or energy foods like cereal bars or protein shakes.


Training in a swimming pool will do wonders for your endurance and technique, but it’s a very good idea to have a go at open water swimming before the big race. This will help prepare you for the differences between swimming in a pool and during a triathlon, from temperature to wave resistance.

Enjoy the excitement of open water swimming at least two or three times before your triathlon, if possible, and do consider some coaching beforehand.


Coaching is ideal for helping you really form up your technique and improve your speeds. Even experienced swimmers can find it hard to tell where their stroke can be tweaked for maximum efficiency and if you’re new to open water swimming, a few coaching sessions can get you off to great start. Is swim coaching right for you?


To help you compete to the best of your ability, you really need to make sure you have an adequate kit.

Invest in a good:

  • Pair of goggles: Great for making sure you can see where you’re going!
  • Swim cap: Bright colours make you easily spottable and thermal and silicon ones can help retain body heat
  • Wetsuit: Not only do these keep you warm, they improve buoyancy and can make swimming easier.

Find out more about choosing a wetsuit for your triathlon and training.

Looking for our triathlon training plan? Hit this link to download as a PDF and get a weekly schedule for your run, bike and swim training -