If you have never swum before, that’s ok. Best thing to do is get in touch with your local Swim Centre and enquire about adult learn to swim classes. They will take you through everything you need to know step by step.

If you already know how to swim but haven’t actually swum a whole lap in years, if ever, that’s ok too. Remember, start out slowly, and gradually build up your fitness and confidence.

Most people swim freestyle in triathlons, although when you need to pop your head up to see where you are going, a couple breast strokes can be handy.

Where you actually swim depends on where you are doing the triathlon. The swim for some tri’s are held in pools while others are in open water such as lakes, rivers or the ocean. If you will be doing an open water swim, it’s a good idea to practice a couple times in similar conditions. So if you will be doing a short ocean swim, go to the beach and give it a go. Get used to the conditions and make sure you feel relatively comfortable.

Most triathlons are very concerned with your safety and will do whatever they need to do to ensure you are ok. For open water swims, there are usually people out on the course in kayaks and rubber dinghies making sure you stay on course and they will pick you up if you feel you can’t go on.

Breathing is often the most confronting issue with swimming (next to getting into that cossie again)! You need to pay attention to your breathing (something we rarely do) and try to get into a nice smooth rhythm.

Before you get in the pool, focus on your breathing for a minute, taking nice big even breathes in and out. Now hop in the pool, put your fins / flippers on, and swim a nice easy lap. Again, focus on your breathing, taking nice big even breathes in and out. If you need to, get your breathing under control again before you start the next lap. Keep working on getting into a nice easy, relaxed rhythm with your breathing while you swim.

You essentially want to be lying flat on top of the water as you swim. When you kick, you want your toes to be splashing on the surface of the water and your eyes should be looking straight down.

The more often you swim the more comfortable you will feel. Try swimming a little longer and a little farther each session. Try to reduce the amount of time you are spending at the ends of the pool and string longer swims together.