Swim faster without spending more time in the water
Discover the 4 most common swim killers and how to fix them so that you can shave minutes off your swim time.
If you need a triathlon coach, check out the Coaches Corner.
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JANE HANSOM: Thank you, thanks for having me on.
BRAD BROWN: Jane, let’s talk swimming, you came from somewhat of a swimming background, you raced competitively growing up, you represented Scotland schools as well, so swimming is something that, I don’t want to say it comes naturally to you, but you obviously put lots of work in, but it’s not something you struggle with.
The passion to swim
JANE HANSOM: No, it’s definitely not. I like swimming, I’ve always liked swimming and I did swim competitively as a kid. That was the easy box for me to tick. A lot of triathletes don’t really like the swim part, but no, I love it, I love it.
BRAD BROWN: Do you find that coming from a competitive background and swimming like that as a kid really makes it a lot easier and you know what you need to do in the water and you just find, you know what, the work has to get done, I’m going to do it because I know what to do.
JANE HANSOM: Definitely, I mean I enjoy swimming, so I’ll get up at 5:15 and I’ll swim with my local team which is the Camden and Swiss Cottage Masters team and yes, we have training sessions most mornings. I do look forward to them actually. Most athletes kind of dread the swim, but no, I love it, I love it and it definitely helps to have swam when I was young, competitively because you can remember, you do remember what to do.
Finding the group that’s right for you
BRAD BROWN: Two things I pick up there, you mentioned the Masters swim group, that for me is one of the big things. Obviously I chat to a lot of triathletes who qualify and race in Kona and that’s one of the big things, is finding a group that are really good and can push you to become better. Do you find that that’s made a big difference to your swimming now as an adult?
JANE HANSOM: Oh yeah, definitely. It’s a great club and I am, by no means, in the fastest lane. I’m in lane three, which is positively average and I do think that it’s important to swim with, or actually to swim, bike and run with people that are better than you cause that’s the only way that you’re going to improve, by swimming with proper swimmers. These guys can move. As long as the sessions are appropriate for the training that you’re doing, I think, that is important because often the session is set and if, for example, you are expecting to go and do a long set of maybe 4 x 800’s, then it’s no good if 50 x 50’s is on the menu. On saying that, I think a lot of triathletes don’t really do enough short, fast stuff. They do a lot of slow, cloddy swimming and actually it’s the short, fast stuff, much like running around a track, that will make you better and more efficient at running or swimming because it really does max you out and makes you fit.
BRAD BROWN: You mentioned Brett Sutton in your first chat and your work with him as a coach, have you got a separate swim coach or is everything coming from Brett and as far as technique and just small nuances in what you’re doing in the pool, how do you deal with that?
How a coach can influence your training
JANE HANSOM: No, Brett is doing all of my coaching. His background is swimming, he’s an amazing swim coach and actually, to be fair, he has completely changed my stroke and taught me how to be much more efficient over a longer distance. I mean I was decent at the shorter distances, but I just didn’t have the strength or the power or the endurance to keep that pace up over 4km and now I do. I do a lot more work with paddles and a pool buoy, so I’m definitely much stronger in my upper body, so I can kind of maintain that consistent pace, that’s probably the major difference.
BRAD BROWN: Can you boil it down to one thing that possibly you’ve done since taking up triathlon that you’ve done in the water that’s made a significant difference to your performance in the swim?
JANE HANSOM: Yes, training with paddles.
BRAD BROWN: As simple as that.
JANE HANSOM: As simple as that, absolutely.
Simple things that make a difference
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk about drills. So often triathletes, and I’m so guilty of this, this funnily enough was the first year in the build up to an Ironman that I swam with a swim squad and I can’t tell you the difference it made, but I just used to go and chase a black line up and down, up and down, that’s all I used to do. As far as drills go, I’m guessing you like mixing things up, if you’re swimming in a Masters group that’s what they do, what is your favourite workout in the pool, what do you love doing?
JANE HANSOM: My favourite workout is, I like 4 x 800’s, so I’ll do the first 800 with a band and a pool buoy and then the second one with arm paddles and then the third one with slightly smaller hand paddles and then the last one I’ll swim it.
BRAD BROWN: It sounds like it could hurt!
JANE HANSOM: Yeah, it does, but it usually hurts because I always lose count. I can never count, I don’t know why, I must concentrate more on the counting cause I’m always sure that I do too many, so yeah, it does hurt.
BRAD BROWN: I’m so glad I’m not the only one who struggles with the counting. I am absolutely rubbish.
JANE HANSOM: I’m diabolical. Seriously, sometimes at the Masters team, there’s a standing joke that even if people want me to go first and lead the lane, I won’t be allowed to because I’ll end up doing in a 25m pool, I’ll do 10 lengths for 200 instead of 8.
BRAD BROWN: I struggle to get 100 right, I can’t even count that, I have no idea what it is, I need to definitely work on that.
Jane, as always, been great catching up, thanks for sharing your swim tips with us today, we look forward to finding out what you do on the bike and I’m particularly interested in that because obviously that was something you had to really work on when you took up the sport of triathlon. But we’ll save that for next time.
Thanks for joining us today.
JANE HANSOM: Thank you, cheers.
Brad Brown is a 40 something age grouper that dreams of one day qualifying for and racing on the big island (He may have to outlive everyone in his age group though).
Morbidly obese in 2009, Brad clocked in at 165kgs (363lbs) at his heaviest.
He's subsequently lost a third of his body weight on the way to a half Ironman pb of 5:06 and a full Ironman pb of 12:21.
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