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angela naeth swim

Triathlon training | How to master the swim

Angela Naeth is a professional triathlete with a serious list of credentials. She’s the 2015 North American Ironman Champion, is a multiple-time sub-9-hour Ironman finisher and a 12-time Ironman 70.3 Champion, and boasts more than 24 70.3 podium finishes. So when it comes to mastering the triathlon swim, bike, and run, it’s safe to say she’s, well, mastered it.

Whether you’re an IRONMAN veteran, an Olympic-distance regular, or a sprint tri hopeful, here’s everything Naeth has learned (and wants you to know) about owning the crucial first part of the triathlon: the swim.

spend (a lot of) time in the pool 

Angela Naeth spends a lot of time in the pool – some with friends, some without – and is constantly honing her technique. 

“I swim five to six days a week, and the yardage varies depending on where I am in any particular phase of training,” Naeth says. “It typically falls around 25,000–35,000 a week.”

She hits up a Masters Swim club three or four times a week, and logs the remainder of her pool time solo.

“I’ve also recently been getting some swim technique help, which has been helping a ton,” she says.

Train In open water As often as possible

“The difference between open water swimming and pool swimming is huge – at least for me,” she says. “You have to be able to sight and keep form, and I find the more I swim outdoors, the better racer I become.”

How much and often Naeth is able to train swimming in open water depends where she’s living and training. She calls Boulder, CO (and the many pools and swim groups it houses), her home, but when she’s training on the East Coast, she’ll rely on a local pond for her workouts.

Angela Naeth’s favorite workouts is super simple: jumping in a lake, finding the rhythm and swimming for an hour. 


#1: Find a good Masters program

“Swimming with a group is key for motivation – especially when you’re getting up at 5 a.m.,” she says

#2: Find someone who can help you with your stroke

#3: Swim often

“The more you can get in the water, the more ability you have to really feel the water,” she says. “This is key to any good swimmer.”

#4: Use fewer tools

“I was up in the air on this when I first started swimming, but most recently I have found that the fewer tools I use, the more I learn how to hold water and use it to my advantage,” she says.

#5: Get out of the pool

“Practice where you’ll race,” she says. “Get into a lake or open water.”

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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.

angela naeth bike
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Triathlon training | How to master the bike

Here’s pro triathlete Angela Naeth's insight into triathlon training when you want to focus on nailing the second – and longest – tri leg: the bike.

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