These 100 triathlon random open water and triathlon swimming tips will set you up for a better swimming experience, improved swim fitness and faster race times. Enjoy!

Check out our boredom busting swim sessions as well!

1.     Exhale into the water so that when you roll to take a breath you are inhaling only.

2     Fuel your swims as you would bike or runs for optimal performance.  People forget to hydrate and fuel properly for swims.  You are still sweating a but the water often minimizes that perception.

3     Understand how to breathe bilaterally but when training and racing hard breath every stroke. Oxygen is good.

4     Kickboards can put strain on shoulders so be careful.

5     Warm up with fins to keep ankles flexible an help start off the swim in a good body position.

6     Flip turns matter even for triathletes as it teaches the body how to move through the water with momentum.

7     A swim set shouldn’t require a 2nd language or interpreter. Keep sets simple.

8     Fins take the strain off shoulders.

9     Understand the purpose of the swim tools or toys you are using.

10   Swimming with a towel tied to an ankle strap creates resistance for well developed swimmers.

11   Learn how to control your kick tempo- 2 beat, 3 beat, 4 beat & 6 beat.

12   Technique is important but so is fitness. Work on both.

13   Swim frequency matters. Split your weekly yardage over 4 to 6 days rather than cramming it into 2 or 3.

14   Swim frequency helps maintain a feel for the water so more progress can be made.

15   Drafting is worth it on race day. You will save energy.

16   Learn how to swim effectively around the buoys.

17   Understand how to navigate yourself in currents and chop.  Sighting should be adjusted in strong currents.

18   Always, always warm up for the swim. Bring swim cordz to the race in case swim warm up isn’t possible on race day.

19   Kick a lot in the final stretch of a race to get blood flow to the legs. It helps adjust when you stand up.

20   Sight lots! Practice sighting in the pool.

21   Swim first thing in the morning…before cognitive stress and tasks from the day accumulate.


22   Do NOT wear that old suit which is threadbare to a public pool. Just don’t!

23   You’ll swim faster in a brand new suit!

24   Practice removing your wetsuit.

25   Do not be afraid to ask for help with your wetsuit zipper. Don’t be shy!

26   Stretch your arms above your head as you put on the sleeves for shoulder movement.

27   Wetsuits must be tight. They feel slightly too tight when dry.

28   Put your goggles on under your swim cap so they don’t get knocked off race day.

29   Know in advance where you will line up to start the race according to goals and comfort.

30   MP3s that are waterproof help, but dry ears with alcohol after to avoid ear infections.

31   Endless pools are like open water swims… in a box.

32   Learn to share a swim lane.

33   Go to masters class! Know how to read a set and follow the etiquette.

34   When there are giant waves, dive slightly under them and swim through before they break.

35   Don’t stand up too early in the swim finish. You may be able to swim faster than run in deep water.

36   The warm up is critical. Build into it gradually.

37   The hardest part of the swim is often getting in the water.

38   Stay focused and present during the swim sets. A wandering minds slows pace.

39   Triathletes do well with fast turnover and front quadrant focused swimming.

40   If you are lifting your head too high, it might be your kicking timing or rotation.

41   Swim various paces in all of the zones every week.

42   Pull water! To avoid crossover, reach for the lane lines.

43   High elbow! Work on shoulder flexibility on dry land.

44   Focus on only one aspect of the swim per 25.

45   Your Garmin or swim watch should only be used if it does not distract you.

46   Pacing with a tempo trainer works wonders.

47   If you are faster with out a pull buoy work on your catch and pull.

48   If you are faster with a pull buoy work on body position and kick.

49   Wear body glide with a wetsuit to avoid those frisky looking wetsuit hickies!

50   Practice open water skills in the pool!

51   Have patience. Swim progress is above focused and consistent work.

52   Have a plan for how you will react to a swim anxiety. Prepare yourself.

53   There is no shame in holding on to a race support boat.

54   A swim skin does shave time. Anything greater than 400 meters is worth it!

55   You will be touched in the swim race. Prepare for it and don’t let it phase you.

56   Do your core work!

57   Swim fitness helps bike and run splits too. Strong swimmers have more energy for the run.

58   Be open minded to trying different training practices.

59   Swimming with others can push you.

60   Swimming alone in a pool teaches you to be mentally tough.

61   Tie a raft or pool noodle to yourself in open water to be visible to unexpected boa traffic.

62   Never swim alone.

63   Short reps with short rest over a long set preserves form and builds fitness.

64   The great thing about swimming is that there’s always room to improve.

65   Drive to the pool in your pajamas and get dressed in the locker room to make sure you get there.

66   Wear a two piece suit under your work clothes so you’re more likely to swim after work.

67   Get a waterproof phone case!  Phones don’t enjoy swimming with out one!  Plus you can take video of yourself swimming.

68   Play in the water. Swimming is fun!

69   When goggles leak, throw them away rather than back in the gym bag.

70   TriSwim shampoo or similar products are worth it.

71   Silicone swim caps protect your hair.

72   Eye cream helps with goggle face marks.

73   Invest in a powerful blow-dryer to reduce time spent in locker rooms.  If you forgot yours and need to get dry hair for a work meeting, just turn the hand dryer upside down.

74   Do dry land exercises! Include shoulder stability moves.  Triathlon swimming requires strength!

75   Wear shower shoes at the gym!  A pair of plastic flip flops protect your feet.

76   Always keep spare goggles at the races just in case a strap breaks last minute or you misplace yours during transition set up!

77   Always bring clear and tinted goggles or invest in photo chromatic lenses for triathlon swimming’s unpredictable nature.

78   Johnson’s baby shampoo reduces fog better than most products designed to do that.

79   Wet goggles with fresh water from bottle, not river water to avoid eye irritation.

80   If it is cold get a neoprene cap and get your face used to that shocking feel of cold water on it during warm ups.

81   Do not fret over swim metrics on a swim watch.

82   Learn to swim straight. Sight! Triathlon swimming times are faster with a direct path!

83   Swim in the middle of the river to take advantage of current.

84   Enjoy the act of triathlon swimming!

85   If you think you see a snake, assume it is a stick. In triathlon swimming the mind plays tricks.

86   If you think you see lighting, get out of the open water!

87   Find a pool that is grounded to avoid summer thunder storm closures.

88   If a lifeguard drags a lane line over top of you or closes your lane too early a few times, push back.  Your swim set matters.

89   Lock your gear up in the locker room.

90   Those microfiber towels you use for camping are also great for keeping gym bags lean and dry!

91   Two piece suits are great for summer open water triathlon swimming.

92   Two piece suits are also slower than one piece suits.  You may not notice the difference though.

93   Hydrodynamic tri kits are faster in the water than regular fabric.

94   Keep a gallon of water in your car for a great parking lot “shower” after getting out of open water practice.

95   Consume calories before the start of a long triathlon. You’ll be swimming an hour with out fuel.

96   Triathlon swimming in cloudier open water?  Follow the bubbles of the feet in front of you when drafting.

97   There’s nothing ‘wrong” with a straight arm recovery if that works for you.

98   Speed is distance per stroke * stroke rate. Both are important. A fast turnover with a strong pull is key!

99   If you think you see a shark in a race, assume it is a dolphin! Our imaginations play tricks on us.


100.  If you live in a freezing cold climate and you leave your swimsuit in a gym bag in your car overnight when it is freezing outside it will become a fabric ice block!