|• Information on Swimming Pools around the World
Swimmers Guide contains the only international, descriptive directory of publicly-accessible, full-size, year-round swimming pools available. There is no resource available in any format with as many pool listings or as much information about each pool as you'll find on this Web site.
• San Francisco Public Pools
San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department, Aquatics Program, Listing of all the municipal pools in the city and their schedules and fees.
• Open Water links
Visit our Open Water swim resources site for specific information on local water quality, temperatures currents etc..
• Places to swim by Pacific Masters
Directory of swimming pools from Pacific Masters
• Where does GGTC swim?
GGTC open water swims are in Aquatic Park in San Francisco. Typically, we swim Tuesday evenings (in season) and sunday mornings but check the calendar and discussion board to be sure. Koret pool at UCSF is another popular pool for GGTC-led group swims. The Presidio YMCA has a great facility and is running a Masters program that is popular with GGTC members. You will find fellow GGTC members at almost every pool in San Francisco and around the bay area. If there is a time and pool that you think fellow triathletes would enjoy to swim in, feel free to post a workout to the GGTC calendar.
• BeginnerTriathlete swim videos and tips
Great site with videos and swim tips for triathletes (not just beginners).
• How can I become a better swimmer?
Well, as with anything becoming a better swimmer requires discipline and patience.
If you are new to swimming the fastest way to success is to get a personal swim coach. However, even if you don't commit to this fast track you can become comfortable with the element. Spend time in the water, get comfortable with the freestyle technique, learn to stay relaxed in the breathing rythm.
If you already have some swimming experience then my recommendation is to swim often. Don't necessarily swim a lot during each workout, but try to get in the water more times per week, rather than swimming longer per workout.
The most important part with swimming is technique and proper form. Form trumps fitness! On the bike if your legs get stronger you'll be most likely faster. When it comes to swimming you can be the strongest man in the world but you'll get nowhere unless you have the right form.
Good swimmers monitor and self-correct their stroke constantly. To become good swimmers they had to do this on every lap, in every workout for every year that they trained!
Check out this underwater video of Grant Hackett, his freestyle technique is frequently quoted as nearly perfect:
Never just swim, always monitor your form. Are you breathing properly to the side? Is the elbow high during recovery and during the pull phase? Are your legs level with your upper body? Once you let your stroke become sloppy, it's better to stop than to continue and re-enforce bad form.
This is why swimmers rarely swim really long distances without stopping. The best triathletes routinely go on bike rides that last several hours without stopping, but once they hit the pool the vast majority of their intervals is less 5mins long! This ensures both high intensity and proper form during all of their intervals.
Many inexperienced swimmers make the mistake of not pushing themselves hard enough in the pool. They are very concerned with the element and breathing (or the lack thereof). That's why it is so important to first become comfortable with the water, before engaging in any actual swim training in the pool. Once your breathing and basic body position is natural in the water you can start fine-tuning your arm stroke and kick.
Swimmers often refer to the "catch", that is they feel the resistance of the water against their hands and forearms as the arm begins to pull backward from the extended position. In Grant's Hackett's video (above) you can almost see the "catch" just the moment after his arm is fully extended in front of his head. Ideally a swimmer "catches" the water and pulls his/her body forward against the resistance of the water. If you have good body alignment (legs high due to a moderate kick) this pull will result in amazing forward speed. And back to the point I made earlier, you don't need a whole lot of strength for this speed.
I hope this helps to get you started. We're offering swim clinics and I'll be happy to help you out during our regular group swims (either in a local pool or at Aquatic Park).
Feel free to contact me with questions anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.