So You Think You Can Swim? – Guest Post by TriGirl

Do I have a treat for you guys!

As most of you know I have been dabbling with the idea of starting to swim.

The issue?

Well I haven’t gotten the balls to go in the water, yet. So, I asked my good friend TriGirl to do a guest post for me. I love her, love her blog and her art. PLUS as a bonus she’s kind of hilarious!

So I hope you enjoy her as much as I do :)


Hi everyone!  I’ve been reading Ali’s blog for a long time; maybe a year? Of course, in blogging time, that’s like a decade.  It’s similar to dog years…or Hollywood marriages.

At any rate, she asked if I would guest post about swimming, and I said “Yes!  Of course!” Now lest anyone be fooled,  let me tell you up front that I am NOT a good swimmer.

My entire blog is dedicated to the fact that I try to be athletic. In fact, I tri.  My site is called
Tri-ing to Be Athletic.  I started it on my hubby’s recommendation because he missed getting all my training on YouTube…and those experiences need to be shared, y’all.

You see, I have never been an athlete.  But, I got bullied suckered into signing up for the Danskin triathlon with some coworkers, under the ruse that I did not have to train for it.  So, train I did not, and hypothermia-while-nearly-drowning I did get.

I decided that I would not quit, but actually start training in earnest.  I started to hit the pool on a regular basis, and I have completed 3 sprint tris, along with 3 half marathons in the past 2 years.  Here are the things I have learned about swimming thus far:

Thing #1: If the last time you actually *swam* was somewhere around the year before you hit puberty, it will be hard. Prepare to look like a dork when you start out.

It’s ok, lots of us are bad swimmers in the pool.

Thing #2:  Prepare for lots of unsolicited advice while swimming.  Some of it will be crazy, but some will be excellent.

Your job is to sort out what works and what requires further investigation.

Thing #3:  You know what you don’t want to do?  You don’t want to forget how cold you get in the water.  Because hypothermia in open water is all kinds of “not fun”.

I was given a pool noodle to keep from drowning in my first triathlon attempt. True story.

This leads to Thing #4:  If you are training for a triathlon, but are not a good swimmer, find out if wetsuits are allowed in your race.  If they are, GET ONE. You will be warm and floaty.

But get out and practice in the open water at least a handful of times before the race because…

Thing #5: Wetsuits are snug.  Reaallllyyy snug.

If you want to get into triathlons, or you just want to start swimming again, there are lots of good training videos on YouTube.   You can also sign up for local adult swim lessons and Masters training programs.

And now, most importantly–Thing #6:  If you want to get better at swimming, you have to go swimming.  I did not get better until I started going to the pool twice a week; it made me decent for short distances,  but I still have a lot more swimming to do.  I believe most of you new swimmers will be better than me in no time!

Thanks so much, Ali, for letting me take over and talk to your readers today!


Like this post?

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A huge virtual hug to TriGirl for treating us to her plethora of knowledge and funny drawings – made my day, and I hope it made yours!

*That pink thing is supposed to be a spatula and I’m hugging, not strangling*

I promise I’ll stick to blogging and not to drawing.



1. can you relate to any of these swimming training tips??

2. when’s the last time you were in a pool? 

a month ago

3. ever had hypothermia??

Fortunately I never have. I do, however know how to treat you and possibly save your life if you get it 😉 


70 thoughts on “So You Think You Can Swim? – Guest Post by TriGirl

  1. I have a question – I would like to know more about the water noodle (!!) I’m blown away that that’s what they gave people to help them from drowning…..I need more details! please

    • In the Danskin triathlon they have swim angels–lifeguards who swim back and forth on the course. If you’re in trouble they’ll give you a pool noodle to hold on to, either on your own or with them. My swim angle basically swam me through most of the course, talking to me to make sure I was ok. It was not a lot of fun and I learned my lesson :)

      Again, THANK YOU for letting me guest post today!

      • Oh ok…..Colin & I were both like WTF! pool noodles?!? …as rescue devices?!?!?!

        and once again – Thank YOU! I’m actually visiting blogs! and I have time to do so :)

  2. Haha love her drawings! Great guest post!

    I don’t really relate to the tips since I was a swimmer, but I do know that I get a lot of unsolicited advice about running and often it isn’t advice that I need!

    The last time I was in the pool? Last night :)

  3. Haha!! Water noodle to stop from drowning – classic. And what kind of advice is “fish have no shoulders?” Humans do, so….haha!

  4. I absolutely love this! The noodle drawing is my favorite but I also love the “fish have no shoulders” – it’s so true that everyone throws a billion pieces of advice to you! I can’t wait to do a tri with TriGirl this year!!

  5. I love the drawings.

    I have to say though: the MOST important aspect to getting good at swimming is to get coaching. It’s not like biking and running where you will get better and faster simply by doing it. If you don’t have good technique, you will work harder, and only work harder, rather then work harder and go faster. Utube videos aren’t enough.

    If you just want to have fun in the water, and burn calories, it’s not a big deal, but to get better at it and do your best, swim coaching is one of the best investments you can make.

    • I agree that if I want to get good fast, a coach will help. But it’s amazing how awful I was and how much better I’ve gotten; i.e. I can now swim freestyle :) If I would like to swim freestyle like a serious swimmer, I will definitely have to get a coach.

  6. 1. can you relate to any of these swimming training tips?? I can absolutely relate to all of the swimming tips. I have another tip. Use “Pam” spray before putting on your wet suit. It will make it so much easier to strip out of our wetsuit during T1.

    2. when’s the last time you were in a pool?

    Yesterday and it hurt!

    3. ever have hypothermia??

    I don’t believe so but if I have it was probably from skiing.

    • I’ve heard of the Pam trick! But I’ve also heard people say that it ruins the neoprene…have you found any problems? Because I could definitely use work on my T1s!

      • Christi’s response went to my email – “I believe there is another product that is out there called TriGlide. That might work better. I have not used either because I heard about it after my last tri. I have many blogging friends that have used TriGlide and liked it. So that is my two cents.”

  7. Nice guest post. Last time I swam was less than an hour ago. Only a half hour, I wasn’t feeling the pool love this morning.

    First thing. Pool noodles in most pools are disgusting. I don’t care if they’ve been floating in a pool of lightly chlorinated water for a decade. Once they’ve been down some stinky bum floatie senior’s crotch, you couldn’t pay me to touch them, even with gloves on. Enough of that.

    Thing 1. Yes, you will look like a dork till you learn to swim. Take lessons. Get someone to take underwater video footage of you and prepare to be horrified. Technique is EVERYTHING in swimming. Tiny, barely visible subtle things can make you faster, or more likely, make you slower till you fix them.

    Thing 2. I guess this is unsolicited advice, but only take it from people that actually know how to swim. That is, you can see what they are doing because they are not surrounded by frothy splashing, and they can go faster than half the speed of Michael Phelps.

    We talked about Thing 3.

    Thing 4. Agreed. Get the wetsuit, and swim in it in open water before your race. Several times. If you rent the suit try not to think about how many people have peed in it before you do so yourself.

    Thing 5. Agreed. If it takes less than 10 sweaty minutes to put on a wetsuit it’s too big. Get a smaller one. Do not use Pam or anything like it. That’s so gross. Use a plastic supermarket baggie over your hands and feet to help slide them in. Trim your fingernails or use the pads of your fingers or you’ll cut the suit.

    Thing 6. Agreed, big time. Really, if you want to get better you need to swim every other day, at least 30 minutes each time. Work up to it gradually, but not too gradually. It takes that long for the water feel to kick in, and until that happens you will not be fast. Practice feeling the water sliding past your fingertips, hands and arms. Feel how fast it’s flowing past your body, and time your strokes to just a hair before you start to slow down.

    Never had hypothermia, but I’ve been at races where a few people did. An air temperature of 2 C will do that to you as you stand around waiting for the race to start.

    Thanks for comment on my blog Ali Mc!

    • Wow! what a great response …and helpful to boot! Thanks Keith.

      and no need to thank me for commenting! I love reading about everyone…..a lot of times I creep on my phone and only comment when I have at home computer time 😉

  8. These pictures are so amazing it actually makes me want to try swimming. And guarantee you i have only entered a body of water once, and it was against my will.

  9. Last time I was in the pool, yesterday. I swim three times a week ranging from 1500 to 2500 yards a workout for my Olympic race in May, and then I will be swimming anywhere from 4000-5000 yards a week for my HIM in Sept. Biggest thing that helped my swim..was swimming more and Master’s Classes. MC help because normally there is a coach on deck that can help correct some technique problems, and I have found that swimming is all about technique!

    • I keep thinking about master’s swimming, but it’s so early in the morning and I just haven’t been successful with getting up at that hour yet.

  10. bahahahaha. i was totally going to comment that it looked like you were strangling her in in your pic! haha!

    this was a fantastic post idea. seriously. i think this is the first time that i have ever read a post related to swimming where I felt encouraged to just go “tri” it….it still make take me a while to convince myself but if i can get a wetsuit and feel all “warm and floaty” I AM IN! :)

  11. BAHAHAAHAHHA! I’m digging the pix. You must play Draw Something – totally addictive.

    I am so scared about getting into a pool and swimming. What about other people staring at your not so sexay thighs? 😉

  12. Love the drawings! I swam competitively from the time I was 7 until I was 18 and also taught swim lessons and was a open water lifeguard. I can relate to the unsolicited advice, not that I received it but I hear people giving it all the time and it isn’t always correct. I never give advice unless it is solicited.
    The only thing keeping me from attempting a tri is all the people swimming together. I don’t know if I could handle everyone swimming so close and hitting me.

  13. i got into swimming more last year-but most I swim at once is 1km. This year I have hardly swam to be honest-the pool in Nairobi at school is honestly FREEZING!! love the pics tri-girl!

  14. Love Tri-Girl! I am not a swimmer and I freeze every time I get in the water. Like blue lips freeze. Thinking about a tri freaks me out but would be a great challenge:)

  15. Other than swimming pools at friends, and the occasioanl splash around at the lake in waist deep water, I have never tried swimming for exercise. It is intriguing…..

    Thanks for sharing your story TriGirl you have given me some “food for thought”!

  16. Very interesting! I am a terrible swimmer. I learnt in school but I still breathe every 2 strokes and get out of breath quickly. That said, I never swim so I can’t expect to do it well. I splash about in the pool or ocean a few times a year and thats it! oops 😉

    • I thought I would never stop wheezing the first time I put that wetsuit on! I was panicking due to the tightness and being in the water, but I was floating so I knew I wasn’t dying. It was weird!

  17. I guess I was really lucky as a newbie. I grew up swimming in lakes and rivers and with comparatively little training (just 10 weeks), I finished my first sprint tri (including 1/4 mi swim) without outside assistance (though slow and with more breast stroke than I’d care to admit). For me, it felt good to be in the water – it made my weight less of an issue (and I was a lot heavier then). I didn’t have a wet suit (and still don’t own one though I wish I did sometimes). Two weeks later I did another sprint tri that had a 1/2 mi swim and I still made it without assistance (though I was wiped out and came in 4th from last on the swim).

  18. Wow, how awesome is it to come to your blog and see TriGirl!? It’s like getting a two-for-one :)
    It ALMOST makes me want to get back in the pool… Almost… LOL
    And I loved your stick people drawing, even if it does look a little like you are killing TriGirl hahaha
    Awesome guest post, loved it!

  19. Love this! And you CAN swim! Just do it and be confident with your body. Work your stroke and don’t worry about being fast at first. Stroke is the first thing to work on! You got this girl!

    And I LOVE her drawings!

  20. I failed the same swimming class 2x before my mother finally realized I was not a swimmer, and let me quit. The problem? I can’t figure out how to rhythmic breathe!

    I really agree with the wetsuit thing! I wear the top half of mine while ice bathing to aid leg recovery after long runs. It helps me stay warm while I’m sitting in the freezing cold water!

  21. I can relate to how hard swimming is. I didn’t try to start swimming until I was in my 40’s. When I first started, I had to rest after every 50 and almost quit. Very humbling and humiliating experience. I decided to just keep going to the pool for as long as it takes. It took me six months of going to the pool 3x per week before I could swim more than 400 yards without stopping.

  22. I wore a wetsuit for the very first time in my life today…..and boy was it hard to get out of!!

    How do you keep from taking like 15 minutes to get it off when you’re done?? Any tricks that you know of? And also I was wearing a full body wetsuit for surfing, maybe the tri-specific ones have little zippers or something on them?

    • I rely on hopping and pulling while grunting.

      If you’d rather do something else, some people cut slits in the ankles and wrists of their suits, some spray Pam, or Body Glide. I use Body Glide to keep from getting chafing on those spots (as well as the back of the neck), but it doesn’t help a ton. Usually there’s water in the suit that gives it a bit of wiggle room. And no, there is just the one zipper on the back of the suit.

      Now, getting the suit on is a whole other matter. People finish races in less time than it takes me to get ‘dressed’. I should make a video of it.

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  24. OH my gosh! I totally forgot about TriGirls near drowning and the swim noodle. It made me giggle all over again.
    But my lol moment on this blog was the crayon drawing. Before reading the caption I was truly wondering why she was being strangled. Love it!!

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