Trisutto swimming approach

July 29th 2019

By Matt Hill
Categories: Athlete Resources

Trisutto swimming approach

This is a great podcast specifically discussing swimming for triathlon, with 2-time Ironman World Champion (2007 and 2011) and multiple World Champion ITU and Long-Distance World Champion, Chris McCormack.

Chris openly admits that he was not a good, natural or “specialised” swimmer in his early days – he came from a running background. Knowing his weakness, he spent hours and lots of money travelling to various renowned “swim” coaches for advice – the advice he received was all similar and SWIM specific for young SWIMMERS; as a result he still did not progressing.

Further along the line, when he finally sort out the help of Brett Sutton, things came together for him! The difference being the delivery of coaching that was aimed at triathletes and NON-SWIMMERS.

Chris eventually worked his way up to being a front-pack swimmer, through building aerobic fitness, muscular endurance and simple movements. He now applies his success and understanding of movements for triathlon to his coaching, here are his points for all age grouper / non swimmers:

  • No gliding at the front of the arm stroke
  • “Sacrifice” the front (catch) because of lack of mobility and fatigue it causes on back end – a key point for non-swimmers!
  • Straight arm recovery
  • Single side breathing
  • Higher cadence with a long push to optimise swimming speed – outdoors and for non-swimmers
  • Ankle band work is the best and easiest way to build higher arm rate (cadence)
  • Two buoys! When doing band work or for general swimming!
  • Water polo swimming for sighting (head up front crawl instead of flicking the head up for fractions of a second)
  • Spectrum / polarised training – EASY is EASY, HARD is HARD!
  • Very little MEDIUM – grey zone, one speed syndrome
  • Consistency in training – keep very similar session content EVERY week, just made harder (mostly aerobic (with strength (hard with paddles and band- long rest) all through the season)
  • Add paddles in the latter stages of a session, when tired, for connection, muscular endurance, speed and therefore better positioning
  • Open water sessions should be like pool sessions – with focus points, sets and reps NOT long plods
  • Exit and entry practice for simulating the stress the cardiovascular system experiences when you regain a vertical position
  • Don’t get lost in information – social media/articles/science

All of the above should be pretty familiar from our coaching interaction!

Note how he even mentions the “miss-use” of swim training time by even those that should know better… he visited other professional triathlete turn coaches squads – specifically mentioning Dave Scott’s programme – Dave Scott = 6x IMWC. Dave coach “triathletes” and “masters” swimmer but used a traditional swim approach (with lots of drills and technique work) – Mecca and other more aware triathletes would visit and do some of Dave’s session for the warm up then move lanes to do “Sutto’s” (Brett’s) swim session – for the pure/specific benefits!

This episode SHOULD cement your faith in the process we have laid out for you – stay on this route and you will all succeed!

Some names to research further and to watch their swim strokes:

  • Janet Evans
  • Michael Klem
  • Craig Alexander
  • Simon Lessing