Embracing Triathletes in Your Master’s Team by Sara McLarty (2013)



[introduction, by Scott Bay]

So this year, you know, it says master swimming and it is my pleasure to interview Sara McLarty.  Sara McLarty is from the same area that I am at the moment, and in Florida, and she is a professional triathlete and also US MS Coach.  She has been actively involved with US master swimming for a number of years.  She is also a professional triathlete and whenever she goes up to a triathlon, all the other women figure out who’s going to be #2 after Sara.  So I would like to introduce to you Sara McLarty.  Sara?


[McLarty begins]

Thank you, Scott.  Thank you everybody; thank you for coming.  This is so awesome.  Thank you for inviting me.  So my talk is pretty self-explanatory.  There it is,“Embracing Triathletes”.  Real quick about myself to kind of explain why I would be someone that could talk about this.  I have gone from being a swimmer to a triathlete.  That is my life story.  I was fortunate to swim under some of the most amazing coaches in the country.  First at the Daytona Beach Speed with Coach Steve Lochte and then after that the University of Florida Coach Troy.  When I was seven years old, I did my first triathlon, so my swimming career was interspersed sports with triathlon from the early 90s and on.  So I have seen triathlon grow and where it started and where it’s gone since then.  My swimming, career was capitalized with a silver medal at World Champs.  Right after that I became professional triathlete in 2005.  I think this year will be my 9th season and maybe I am doing the math wrong, yeah, 9th season as a professional.  I moved to Clermont, Florida in 2008 and started a Master Swimming Team there at the NTC, the National Training Center.  What is cool is how my swimming and triathlon background is combined was for over four years I have been riding, I have been a swim article contributor for Triathlete Magazine, so when I go to races and when people meet me, they know me as a person that tells them how to swim and what to swim through the magazine that they get in their mailbox once a month so that’s pretty cool.


I have also been working with USMS Swimmer magazine, did open water swimming article and I do online, workouts for them as well too.  So, I spend a lot of time in front of computer.  My NTC Masters Swimming Team, we are in Clermont, which is the National Training Center.  It is a beautiful facility own big size pool.  We are famous for being a world triathlon destination.  So a majority of our swimmers are triathletes.  I estimated to be about 75%.  I think it is even more than that because even my lifetime swimmers compete in triathlon so maybe it is a 100%.  We have about 70 members based on the seasons.  Our snow birds come and go in the winter and five weekly practices.  I recently started another one in Celebration, Florida and I am working on growing that.  That started in June, pretty cool working with Homeowners’ Associations to get access to their pools and some private pools in the area to build the team and again they are triathletes.  My name is known to the triathlon community so triathletes are approaching me in the area to bring Masters Swim team’s training program to their area.  And we have the every once in a while just swimmer come join us.


So the triathletes’ view of swimming kind of capitalized right there in that picture.  Like that is swimming in a triathletes’ view, okay?  An adult triathlete who has come to the sport in their 30s, in their 40s after having kids after, you know, settling down in life and they have not been in the swim their entire life and when you – when you say swimming to them or when you say swim practice or if you say swim meet this is the image that comes to their mind and it is completely intimidating to someone who did not grow up in the pool and did not grow up on a competitive swim team and has no concept of that.  They are scared, they completely feel unprepared because they do not know what the terms are.  They think oh, you know, all I can do is sort of do free style and um, how am I going to do a swim team?  Because they are, you know, I do not know what those other things are that they do in the pool, um, so it can be confusing.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation that is spread among the triathlon community about swimming and about swim training.


Fortunately, once I got my hold on that Triathlete Magazines swim articles I have been attempting to change those misconceptions and give proper swim information to triathletes and that is been a huge, huge thing that has made me so happy about that opportunity.  That does draw a lot from I will be the first to say it, triathlon coaches.  A triathlon coach can be someone who has completed one triathlon and thinks that they are triathlon coach and they’ll start coaching people and not only do they not have any idea what they are doing about triathlon, they have zero concept about how to coach swimming and then that is where a lot of the misinformation and stuff comes from.  So, the other things that they think of, you know, unnecessary I love that too, um, you know.  I do not need to train with a Master Swim Team because I can go to the pool my own time and swim back and forth for 30 minutes.  You know, masters swim groups are unnecessary.  Training with people is unnecessary, obviously they think it is too intense, that’s a big thing.  Ah, you know, the concept of getting through a quarter mile swim in open water or getting through 2.4 miles swim in open water, the first thing that comes to mind is I just have to do it, you know.   Now we are asking them to come to a swim practice where we are asking them to swim fast and swim hard and I do not need to do that. So these are the stereotypes, biggest stereotypes that masters swimming coaches have to overcome with triathletes and we have to educate the triathletes in our area and we have to open their eyes to the proper ways to swim train.  So this is fun.


The past couple of magazine months that I have been writing for Triathlete Magazine I do an Ask Coach Sara twitter question the week leading up to me having my article due.  Which actually means the week after it’s due, because I am already always procrastinating and late everything.  So, it is really a good example, the questions that I get about how triathletes – how swimming is just so confusing for them.  Like, what is the best way for me to improve stroke rate without losing the length?  Bilateral breathing.  Oh, how can I be more like a spear? These questions, you know, like you get a lifetime swimmer this stuff isn’t even in their vocabulary, these ideas aren’t even in their heads and you get this kind of stuff.  Literally this is the things they are asking.  I am answering them in the magazines and as in age group how do I pick up my swimming pace? Swim more.  Swim faster, you know, but they are looking for some complicated roundabout super-secret magical answer.  It said, where are we want to wear it? So well actually that is a good question and I answered, ah, open water.  So goggles under swim caps, over swim caps.  If you are swimming up in water you guys always wear your goggles, under swim caps so they do not get knocked off.  The straps – the straps do not get knocked off.   This is a really good example of a lot of stuff I get.


So I started coaching at the NTC.  They did not have a masters swim program when I moved there.  I actually walked in to meet with the managers and ask if they had any, you know, job openings when I moved there.  About two months after I got to my house all in order and I walk in and at the front desk there is the sign that says, “No More Master Swim Classes”.  Why? They are like oh, the coach just left.  I am like, oh, okay, so I walked into the back office and meet the manager.  I am like oh, so I hear you need a masters swimming coach.  It worked out really well.  A month later we had a program started in place and everything and within the first three years we were 70 plus members on a regular basis.  And like I said, a majority of those were triathletes.   So how do I get those triathletes to enjoy organized proper swim training on a regular basis?  Creativity, fun, keep it interesting, make them come in and have absolutely no idea of what you are going to give them.  If you look at a typical triathlete training, you get bike rides that are long and boring and you know, no creativity.  It is pedal for X amount of time, X amount of distance, get it done.  Run and work out.  You know, unless it is a track session once a week or some speed interval it is go run, go run long, go get the miles and move your feet, get it done.  So, you know, if someone is training 10 to 12 hours a week, that is 10 or 12 hours is out they are being long and boring, you know, subscribe them for those 2 to 3 hours and make them enjoy their training, change it up, keep it fun and fresh, and make it a social environment too.  We have a Facebook page for our group and everyone is always posting crazy things.  When we do timed swims or a 500 full time or something with that everybody, you know, record their time up there so that they can scroll back down two months later and find their past time on there and everything.


After I started coaching the group, I created a blog and started writing up the workouts online every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Nowadays it gets 900 to 1000 hits a day from around the world.  It is amazing that people are using my workouts to go swim and the happiest thing about that is that they are not going to the pool and swimming mindless yards.  Like they are, you know, biking miles and running miles.  They are taking something that has a purpose and a plan and something and they are taking that to the pool and doing training from that.  We have social and holiday gatherings like our Halloween costume contest that we had.   One requirement was you had to swim a 50 in your costume in order for it to count and get qualified for the contest.  A lot of pieces ended up floating in the pool after so but that was a lot of fun.  And then being a triathlon town and Central Florida where there is, you know, five triathlons a weekend, we do organize our training a little bit towards some of the bigger local events.  Like, the biggest one that we would have would be the 70.3 Haines City which is an hour south of us and 50% of my Master’s group participated in that.  So we definitely spent the two weeks leading up to that with a little bit of a focus on that, and made sure that everyone was tapered and ready to go.  The biggest thing my Masters enjoy is time in between the sets to chit chat.  I give them just you know, an extra two minutes after we’ve done, one set before I come over there and give them their next set to go.  And that has built that camaraderie and accountability between the teammates, you know, so it allows them to build a social atmosphere and then kind of get on each other when they did not see each other in practice and keep other accountable.  It’s also for like one of them, you know, it is the one that knows how to use the clock so they all yell with him when he is not there.


Obviously I have a large percentage of triathletes, but even nowadays open water swimming is becoming more popular even for people that have no – no interest in competing in multisport.  Even if you are just a lifetime swimmer, you are never going to run or ride a bike, open water is definitely growing in popularity especially now that it is in the Olympics and we are getting more events.   So here are some cool things that I make my Masters practice comfortable for the triathlete and still the swimmer is benefiting from it as well.   Through the summer months, we do a monthly aquathlon practice on the last Friday of each month and every time it is different but we open the back gate which is right where these people are putting their shoes on.  And it will be something like a 400 snakes swim in the pool, you get out, put your shoes on and then go run three laps on the soccer fields, come back in, take your shoes off, swim the 400 snake and it is just not-stop for the entire length of practice.   So they get their swim runs and the people love it because going from swimming to a running whether you are swimming, you know, and exiting the water, and running to your bike or just anything like that is something that takes practice.  You got to be able to adjust your body from being horizontal to being vertical and these are great practices for them.


We host and organize open water swims.  We also participate in open water swims.  We are not too far from both coasts.  We are smack dab in the middle, 60 miles from each coast.  So we are over on Sarasota side participating in open water swims or over on the Daytona Beach side doing open water swims as well as all the lakes in our area and everything too.  So we turned it into team events too.  We’ll go and we will encourage everyone to go and sometimes we make Friday morning swim practice and open water swim at a local lake as well too.  Then just in practice, in typical sets where 6 75s kick to swim I encourage everyone to do open water swimming drills, tarzan drills, head-up swimming so that you can get your siding muscles comfortable and practice swimming with your head up out of the water.  I get the biggest groans from everybody when they hear no walls, but I love it as a coach because maybe you do not have a 50 meter pool.  You only have 25 yards, but you can make it a long distance swim by telling them no walls.  That means when they get to the T on the bottom, they just have to turn around either flip or turn and start swimming back.  You cannot touch the wall.  So, I will give anything from my A swimmers which are my lifetime swimmers, they will do a 1000 no walls.


That is the best training for open water swimming ever, because not only are you not being able to touch the wall or the bottom at any point in time, but you have got to get your momentum going back up after every wall.  So it is a totally awesome way to train for open water if you do not have open water as an option.  Then my B swimmers would do a 600 and my C swimmers would do a 400, no walls.  And then we are fortunate we have a 25, if it is set up short course we have 25 lanes.  If it set up long course we have 8.  We do a lot of snake swims especially for warm ups and cool downs.  Start in one end of the pool and snake your way all the way down the pool, get out and as they are walking back by me, I will tell them that they have to do some dryland exercise in front of me before they head back to the start of the snake and do it again.  Or I will tell them the next snake is kick down, swim back etc., so that makes it fun for me because I can sit in one spot and everyone just swims by me.


So, mixing, triathlon/open water stuff into a swim practice is easy and it definitely makes the triathletes feel like they are being included.


[audience member]:  Indiscernible


[McLarty]:  What? Is that what it is called?  There is another name.  Aha, it is good.  It is good.  I train as well too for myself.  Tennessee.  I wonder why those state swimmers must not have walls.  So another way that I organize my program to accept the triathletes as well was A, B and C groups and so A is typically my lifetime swimmers.  Yes, they might be triathletes as well, but they are definitely some people that are comfortable swimming, they have been swimming all their life, they are fast and they want to get in there and they want to work hard.  They do not want you to really nitpick their strokes because they are 50, 60 and they are not going to make any changes.  They just want you to give them a workout, make them work hard, send them home hungry for breakfast.  The B group, the experienced triathletes, people that have been in the sport for five or more years and have gone through their learning process of swimming and everything.  Then your older lifetime swimmers who are no longer swimming as fast as your younger lifetime swimmers.  The C group is definitely those new triathletes.  Those ones that have just joined the sport, have just decided to make a life change, have had absolutely no swimming experience in their entire life and they are just coming in to swim better, learn how to swim, get more comfortable in the water.


So I definitely coach the individual.  I do not just put a set on board and let everyone go at it.  I just base on, you know, every single person you are going to do eight raps, you are going to do six raps, multiple intervals and distances so everybody at the same time is doing the same set at some point in time like, you know, the A group is doing 10 100s on 120, the B group is doing 8 100s on 150 and the C group, the new triathletes are doing 5 100s, but we do not even C group never has an interval.  C group is on rest because that group is so wide range.  You have got everyone, you know, from that can swim a 100 in five minutes, someone swim 100 in 2 ½  minutes, so it is purely based on rest.  So, A and B have intervals.  C is just completely on rest 15 seconds in between your 100s before you start off.  The B group and C group as well get my non-free option.  A group will be doing 5 100 IMs.  Those are my lifetime swimmers.  Those are my ones that are comfortable swimming.  They know all the strokes.  I enforce that even if you are a triathlete, even if you give me that BS, oh I am going to swim this free style.  Okay, I do not care, but you are not going to swim freestyle right now.  You are going to do something else that teaches you how to be more comfortable in the water, feel the water better, strengthen some other kind of muscles.  I do accept kicking as a non-free option and doing a free style drill as an option, but I like to see them attempt another stroke, practice it, be more comfortable.


I follow that with even professional triathletes who have been swimming for longer than, you know, you can imagine can be in the open water in a triathlon or in a race have an asthma attack, have a panic attack, get hit, something happens.  They still have to end up doing something other than freestyle.  Okay, at some point in time you might find yourself kicking on your back, struggling for air.  But if all you give me in the pool is freestyle back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth, you are not going to be comfortable.  So, I enforce that in preparation for their open water swims.  That is A, B, and C.


A cool thing I did and it was actually at the request of some of my triathletes, because I am working with 35 of them in the pool at swim practice and I would say do non-free and I would admit, I would be chuckling on the pool like watching them attempt some of their non-free things so I have got the request, you know, can we have more time, can we learn these things better, you know, because we were not five years old and the pool is six years old and the pool is getting those strokes and all those things diving.  Diving is a huge concept for many adult triathletes.  It never dove into the pool, level on, you know raising start off a block.  So once a month 30 to 60 minutes straight after practice the people that want to stay can stay, people who can stay obviously this is in the morning before work and we stick around and we do a clinic.  And I am already there and so you know, it is just about what is 30 minutes, you know, left on the pool deck and we will pick one thing, once a month and we will do a complete mini clinic on it.   Obviously biggest thing flip turns.


I mean, if you are coaching, you know, if you guys are already coaching, you know, those flip turns.  If you come into swimming later in life those are difficult, you know, and teaching them is hard and figuring the amount on your own is hard.  So giving people 30 minutes to teach them how to do a flip turn has huge, huge rewards.  And even the people that would give me that oh, guess what? We do not do flip turns in open water swimming.  Why do I need to learn it? They would still stick around because they want to know how to do it because they are looking over at the A group at the lifetime swimmers dreaming of moving up to that group, you know, and realizing how do I do that? So teaching those things, dolphin kicking, I mean, just that is that thing that lifetime swimmers take for granted that motion.  Hard to teach, hard to learn on your own, 30 minutes you give them a mini clinic, they love it.  The next swim practice, they are already attempting to do it and everything.  Obviously butterfly, backstroke or breaststroke diving off the blocks, diving off the side of the pool.


Yes, we have sat in the pool and I have given a lecture on reading the clock.  What do you mean when you say 1:50?  I am like alright, here we go.  And then you know, mixing in some open water sidings we have taken some lines out and done buoy returns, I have thrown a milk jug on a string into the pool and we’ve practiced buoy turns as well too.  So it is been great, they feel like they are learning more about swimming.  They are encouraged to come back to swim practice the next, you know, month and master this new skill that they have been given.  You know, I always sell it by saying, you know, the more comfortable you are in the water, the more comfortable you are in the water, you are faster, you are a better swimmer and then this is triathletes are faster swimmers.  They will be anywhere you want them to be.  They’ll show up for anything.


This was a cool thing.  I developed over the last winter again monthly,  pre-masters.  So because the Clermont, Central Florida area is such a popular triathlon area you get people well my wife has been doing it for two years, I am ready to start, you know, she lost 50 pounds and I need to keep up with her.  So you are getting the people that are starting from zero and I want them to come to masters.  They want to come to masters.  Their husband or wife or sister, brother, friend are already participating in Master’s because they have been doing it, you know, for X amount of time, but for adults who cannot swim or workout comfortably, so we are looking for those people that are in between drowning and you know, swimming a 100 non-stop.  You should take the people that are drowning on their own and have program for them.  So if they have already mastered that, pre-masters was for them.  So we did one month course, two times a week, 90 minute sessions.  It was after work, it was dark out.  We had time in the pool from 6:30 to 8:00 before it closed and it was like one of those overload crash courses in everything swimming.  So once, sorry at the beginning of every 90 minute session, we spent 30 minutes dry in a classroom going over swim terms.


What does flip turn mean? What does all these, what is descend 1 to 3 mean? What is stroke count? I had a clock and we talked about how to read the clock, you know, and what that means.  I mean, it even started with okay, the pool outside this way is 25 yards, the pool outside this way is 50 meters.  We covered everything.  Then we got into the pool for the last hour of the 90 minute session and we started with, you know, from kicking to flow, you know, floating, kicking, starting strokes, everything.  Yeah, they were not excellent at anything at the end of the month, but they knew everything.  They had a concept of how to do everything.  I mean, the last day was butterfly and breaststroke.   When they left, they had a general idea of how to move their body in the butterfly and breaststroke strokes and that these people had probably picked up swimming in the past three months before they got there so this is really cool.  With your month pre-Masters program, you got a month to our Masters program and probably half of the people are now regular members of our Masters program in the C group.   Right there, they fit right in.  You know, because I would have and the inspiration for me was the people that I would meet or they would come talk to me and they would be like well, I am a little trepidatious about coming to join the masters program, but I really want to become a better swimmer.  I convince them yeah, come out, you know, come out one morning, give it a try, you know, and they would be over there, they would come in and they would get that completely intimidated thing and they would never come back.  I’d sit there and go you know, like what do I do, you know, I coach them individually.  They were not thrown in above their level and everything, but it was not right for them.  So that is where this came from and it worked out fantastic in this winter we hopefully will be running the sessions again too as well.   Because the winter is when it ended up happening which is after a summer season of triathlon where the person gets motivated to do it and goes on, well I am going to do it next year so the winter ended up being perfect, and definitely half of the people are struck around join the masters swim group and are slowly moving from the C group up into the B group graduating up a level, so it was really cool.


We did my pre-Masters? So we had October, November, December and January and we had 5 each, 5 – 6 each time.  Yeah.  And that was good too.  It was just for one coach coaching it, you know, from 4 to 6 was because you really wanted hands on, you know, you wanted them to.  The biggest thing was ask me questions.  While we are doing this, I am spitting information at you.  Your head is going to hurt at the end of all these 90 minute sessions, ask, you know, because this stuff to me is like second nature.  It is, you know, biology to you, you know, it is that complicated stuff so ask questions.  So that small group was good and worked out great.  Yeah, so definitely at least 7 – 10 are in masters now and swimming regularly too and getting ready for another triathlon season and everything too so that was really cool.


Yeah, and that was teaching diving.   She’d never dove in the pool before she never dove in the water.  That was Lisa, it was amazing so pretty cool.  So as a swimmer/triathlete, I see the perspectives from both sides.  So, disclaimers for dealing with triathletes.  Triathlon is a different racing season from your swim meets, from your masters swim meets, you know, so be aware that there will be different taper times, different cycles, training cycles, different peaks and valleys in training.  So just be aware that, you know, you will have people coming in as you are preparing, you know, four weeks out from a big swim meet, and you are giving these quality sets.  And you have triathlete come in and say, well I am tapering through a race in two days, you know, so I am going to swim a 1000 easy or something you know, so just be aware and make adaptations for them.


Triathletes are very type-A personalities.  They will be stubborn.  They will you know, not listen sometimes, but the NTC masters swim coaching motto is I stand on the pool and give suggestions for a 90 minutes, three mornings a week.  If you want to do what I say that is great.  If you do not, I do not care.  So just let it all slide.   Now remember these triathletes, 90% of them will have personal coaches, okay, so you are the additional coach.  Those triathlon coaches will be writing their swim training, okay?  Now the triathlete coaches in our area know that all they have to write is go to masters swimming in our area and their swimmer comes to masters swimming and everything.  So, but like I am saying when, um, the triathlete is tapering as well too.  The coach will get in there a little more serious and say edit, you know, like maybe today you need to do 10 100s at mid-race pace to get ready for the race or if it is three days before the race.  Or it should be 8 50s, one fast, one easy, you know.  Sometimes they will come in with their own workouts, but work with the coaches, make yourself, you know, present yourself to the local triathlon coaches and club teams and say, you know, I have this program, you know, educate the coaches, because like I said the coaches are not always knowledgeable about swimming.  You get a lot of questions from triathletes because of all the misinformation that is out there about swimming and especially about swimming technique.  No names, so triathletes will question everything that you tell them and it is coming.


Even though it is coming for, you know, you are thinking yourself are you crazy?  Why would that be efficient? Why would that be fast? Why would someone tell you to do that?  Just let them question, explain the reasoning behind it about why you are teaching this technique.  Well you see a lot of triathletes that think that it is a really good idea to put their hands and next their head, push their hands forward under the water.  No names.  So you got to reeducate them, to have a high recovery, drop – clap their hand in the water out there when their arms almost fully extended.  Wet suits standard, the temperature is 78 degrees for a wetsuit legal triathlon which to me is a hot tub, but wetsuits are a benefit so people that cannot swim are definitely going to take the wetsuit advantage anytime they can.  So definitely be aware there are lot of people will be surgically attached to their pull-buoy.  Oh but have to train like this because it is like swimming in a wet suit.   You can try and talk them out of it and try and teach them how to be, develop a better swim stroke but they are surgically attached to their, you know, inner thighs so just be aware of that.


Thank you, any other questions?  Yes.


[audience member]:  Do you encourage your triathletes to do swim meets?


[McLarty]:  Yes, we do. Absolutely, especially through the winter season, when there is no competitions to do and we would like to stay competitive.  I mean everyone wants to compete.  So and I encourage at the same way as saying listen, through November, December, January, February, how many 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons have you signed up for? Why are you doing that? You are doing that to become a better runner to improve your running ability.  Well guess what? How about on the other weekends we sign up for a swim meet in the area or we host a little swim meet during swim practice? We have also done that as well too, same reason, you want to get better at swimming so I use that kind of thing as you know.  Especially in Florida we do a lot of running races through the winter and – and that is the same kind of thing, absolutely, yes, yeah.


[inaudible audience comment]


[McLarty]:  That is fantastic.  Yeah.  And your swimmer got a benefit from the triathletes being there, dominating the distance event.


[inaudible audience comment]


[McLarty]:  They all hang around from my post clinics.  And I mean, that is the thing that I see is that the more open we are as coaches with swimming backgrounds, the more open we are to sharing that stuff that we do not even consider knowledge.   It is like second nature.  The more open we are to sharing that, the more, you know, welcome they feel and the more, the better swimmers they become as well, too.


[inaudible audience comment]


[McLarty]:  Yeah great, fantastic.  Another swimmer, yeah.  Oh gosh, yeah, and I even forgot to mention like draft sets too.  So much fun, you know, you get 3 – 4 swimmers of the same ability and you give them a 400 where well 3– it is 3 people.   You give them a 300, 4 people you give them 400 and each swimmer pulls a 100 at the front stops on the wall and goes to the back of the group.   You know you do four 400s like that and builds the team together.  It gives drafting practices as well too.  It is endless possibilities of stuff that you can do in the pool that is open water friendly as well too.  So, any other questions?  Since we are here, we are talking about embracing triathletes.  These are brilliant ideas.  Is there anybody else that has anything that they are doing in their pool to mix?


[audience member]:  When we have limited pool space to do snake swimming.  So this summer we have basically two lanes and we get all the swimmers to go down from one side and come back the other, in the long breaststroke, it works out better.  Because you have different abilities but it helps people learn to pass.


Back on to that kind of end they do like they do triathlon in the pool and that is exactly what they do with the snake swim when they have to get to the other lane.  So if it’s a good thing they have in a practice sometimes so they know well they do not always push off under water.  They may not have that experience but still if that’s in their race for indoor triathlons then we are good.


[McLarty]:  I am loving your two lane snake idea that is brilliant, because you are giving your faster swimmers an opportunity to be comfortable passing the wave in front of them that is, you know, like in open water the wave that started in front of them they are never really going to passing the slower swimmers.  But bigger too of your slower swimmers to get over the fear of being swam over because that is huge.  I want my space, you know, like I do not want anybody in my personal bubble out there, but if you have got these faster swimmers coming by them over and over and over again they will totally desensitize to that is taking it home.


[audience member]:  Yeah.  That is really start to slower swimmer that’s the first to the first thing that happens.


[McLarty]:  As they get passed.


[audience member]:  They get lost and you know that and scale over and then the more experienced swimmers get that.   They kind of reminds that yeah, I had the extension.


[McLarty]:  That is really brilliant.  I like it.  I still know, that is something I have been, you know, trying to get and how do you desensitize that?   That fear of being trampled? You trample them.  Now get over at it.


[audience member]:  Controlled trampling.


[McLarty]:  Yeah, right, in a controlled setting, in a pool that they are comfortable in where something that they can, you know, stop on the wall and everything.  I like it, I like it.  Anybody else?


[audience member]:  Yeah, a couple of times this year on Sundays I did like a goofy triathlon.  It was about an hour and a half race that was like a 500 swim and get out, run a mile on the track, get on your bike do a lap around.   It was Sunday and other out in the country that do about that as indicated by that one track back in sort of 500 and then just do like and I switch it up every time.  And it is something different because a lot of the strong swimmers talked about how crappy it is to be or how one-sided it is.  But it is really fun they enjoyed it.  It was something different.


[McLarty]:  Yeah, that is cool.  That is cool.  Yeah.  And even two of my monthly summer aquathlon practices there is always 3 lanes of side for my people that cannot run at the time, people that do not want to run all that kind of thing.  So you know, I am embracing the triathletes, we also do not want to not include, the people that just want to get in there and swim as well too.  I love it.  Goofy triathlons at practice.  That is cool.  Yeah.


[inaudible audience comment]


[McLarty]:  Right, yeah.  Yeah, and that is big too.  The question I get too is you know, how do I become comfortable in open water?   You go and swim in open water as often as you possibly can, you know, and get in there.


[inaudible audience comment]


[McLarty]:  Not streamline.  They might not know how to.  They might have never been told.  You cannot see the reason for it.  I know.  The more comfortable you are in the water, the faster you are swimming.  That is the answer you got to give them.


[inaudible audience comment]


[McLarty]:  True, true.  Awesome.  Anybody else have something interesting?


[audience member]:  We have about 300 people like that in Boulder, Colorado and so what we do is, you know, we have specific forecasts for triathletes.  You know, specific forecast for beginner, intermediate swimmers whatever.  You have to work out this thing go for it and you know, we do like you have connects and stuff all doing basically.  You have some great stuff and they will likely be going to have four or five.


[McLarty]:  Yeah, cool.  So you are actually not just dividing up your workout into beginner triathletes.  You are having 7:30-8:30 triathlete practice, lunch time, some completely different practices, okay.  Do you have multiple pools?


[audience]:  Yeah.


[McLarty]:  Flat irons?


[audience]:  Yeah, I coach in flat irons.


[McLarty]:  Oh, I swim there a lot over the winter.


[audience]:  Yeah.  But when we have three city pools there sort of like masters.  So there is a 50 meter pool.  Actually, there’s 5, 2 outdoor pools, 3 indoor pools and we have 4-5 workouts a day, 8 coaches.  You know it is a great situation, but you know, we do basically what you are saying.


[McLarty]:  I definitely showed up to a triathlete practice.  Yeah.  I was definitely at one of your triathlete practices, yeah, I was there with all the triathletes, yeah.  That is cool.  That is a different way to divide it if you have that opportunity.  That is cool.


[inaudible audience comment]


[McLarty]:  Yeah, that is cool.  Open water swimming tends be the connector between the two groups.  Yeah, because everyone can do it.  Yeah.


[audience member]:  And you know I am preparing for all the things that we are going to have.


[McLarty]:  Right.  I love it.


[audience member]:  There is one more thing I thought of that I had been doing lately is at the end of the practice I will mix all the lanes together and create free lanes.


And you know, you get the fastest swimmers with the slowest swimmers and it is funny because at first they’ll go what, you know, and then afterwards they are like all cheering for each other and high-fiving.  Real bonding.


[McLarty]:  Total bonding.  When you get those swimmer swimmers cheering this beginner newbie it totally, yeah.  I do not know if you have picked it up here, but just holidays too like the closest one to Easter, the closest one to Thanksgiving we do instead of 90 minutes swim we do 60 minutes swim.  And everybody brought a brunch item and then we get out and socialize on the pool back and have brunch as well before everyone has to rush afterwards to work.  So then you get more chit chat time and everyone can intermingle and meet everybody as well.  We are social.  We are not serious.


So, thanks you guys for listening and sharing.  That was awesome.  Thank you.




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