Ironman Swim Technique: Correcting your swim stroke
Ironman Swim Technique: Correcting your swim stroke

Ironman Swim Technique: Correcting your swim stroke

Ironman Swim Technique: Correcting your swim stroke

Ironman Age Group World Champ Malte Bruns chats to us about how small changes to your swim technique can yield big results.

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BRAD BROWN:  Welcome to another edition of The Kona Edge, I’m Brad Brown. We’re joined now by a returning guest. He is the 2015 Ironman Age Group World Champion.

He won the 18-24 year olds, broke the record in that age group as well in 2015. Malte Bruns, Malte, welcome back on, nice to catch up again.

MALTE BRUNS:  Hello again.

BRAD BROWN:  Malte, let’s talk about your Ironman swim. You said in our previous chat that your Ironman bike is probably the weakest of the three disciplines. But you said to me that there is some work that still needs to be done on your swim.

Do you swim in a swim squad or do you tend to do all your Ironman swim training on your own?

Swim Squad or Swim Solo?

MALTE BRUNS:  I usually train on my own. In the past I think I started swimming when I was 4 years old, with the life guards here in Germany. We didn’t really do technical training or sprints, we just swam. Maybe we did some drills or something.

Going into this year I just found a fad for me which I basically do every day. Sometimes I work with a coach to work on my swim technique because swimming is all about the technique right?

So there’s always something I need to do better. When I swim there are always so many things to think about. For example, where to position your arms and  where to pull.

I really feel that there’s something to do better, but just love being in the water. I can count tiles for hours and hours and hours!

Focus on swim technique to improve your Ironman swim

BRAD BROWN:  You are a special breed Malte. I know a lot of people absolutely hate the time in the pool. We’re going to get onto that one workout, but let’s talk a little bit about swim technique. It is important, you can get into the water and if your swim technique is rubbish, you’re going to be going nowhere in a hurry.

Would you advise that anyone, it doesn’t matter how good or bad you are in the water, get someone to look at their swim technique? Maybe to see if they are doing anything and change things if it will improve their swim stroke and performance long term?

MALTE BRUNS:  Yeah, definitely, I mean I’ve experienced it a couple of times during this year, that somebody looked at my swim technique and said, hey, you have to change this and that. I did it and I felt immediately that I was seconds faster.

Yeah, it’s really worth giving it a try, to have somebody look at it and you can just improve so easily, just by focusing on specific things.

Small changes to your swim technique yield big gains

BRAD BROWN:  It’s so funny you say that Malte because I, as a kid as well, also swam in a bit of a swim squad, I can’t really remember if we did lots of drills and that and I haven’t swum with a swim squad for about 20 years and in the last two weeks I’ve joined a swim squad and I feel like a different swimmer.

I’ve had, again, someone look at my stroke, I feel like I’m swimming so much better. It’s amazing how something as little as that can make such a big difference.

MALTE BRUNS:  Yeah, right, you just don’t really think about how you swim, you just do your thing and somebody from the outside just sees what could be improved.

BRAD BROWN:  Also, I’m one of those that hate just staring at that line, but the last two weeks I’m enjoying my swimming again.

We’re mixing things up with different workouts and different sets, but tell me about the one set that you do every day, what do you do in the pool? Let’s talk about what a World Champion does in the water every day.

The Ironman swim workout out of champions

MALTE BRUNS:  Okay, I start out with 500 easy and 500 power around the arms. Then I do 700 with the paddles and the pool buoy. Then 300 just the paddles, 500 pool buoy with breathing pyramid thing. 500 power on the arms, then again the paddle set and then once again the pool buoy set.

BRAD BROWN:  And that works out to about how much every day?

MALTE BRUNS:  It’s 5000 every day and kind of depending whether the long or the short pool, maybe somewhere between 1:15, 1:20 workout.

BRAD BROWN:  That’s six days a week, you do that six times a week?


BRAD BROWN:  That’s incredible. Malte Bruns, thank you so much for letting us know what you do in the pool. It’s incredible. Just a last one, you don’t do any sort of like really high intensity stuff in the water? Is it just exactly what you just said?

MALTE BRUNS:  In Kona I actually did, I joined the Kona aquatics team there and they were doing sprints, but when I train on my own, I don’t.

BRAD BROWN:  Did it hurt doing those sprints?

MALTE BRUNS:  It was hard, but it was also really fun. Just being in the water with so many people. having a good time in the short breaks in between the sprints and all that.

BRAD BROWN:  Fantastic. We look forward to catching up again soon here on The Kona Edge. We’ll find out what you do on the bike next time out. Malte, thank you so much for your time, we look forward to chatting then.

MALTE BRUNS:  All right.

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About Us

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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