How to Prepare for a CrossFit Swim!
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How to Prepare for a CrossFit Swim!


Preforming in a CrossFit swim can be both incredibly challenging and incredibly rewarding. However, we do not recommend you show up out of the blue. It is important to train beforehand, to ensure that you can complete the tasks required. This guide will help you figure out where you currently are, and where you need to get to do your best in the swim.

Where am I now?

Begin by asking yourself, if I had to give myself a grade as a swimmer, what would that grade be?

  • A – Outstanding – Excellent swimmer. I can swim 500 yards without stopping.
  • B – Good – I can swim a few laps without stopping but it's a bit of effort.
  • C – OK – I can swim a lap or two but it makes me tired and I find I'm always out of breath when I swim.
  • D – Beginner – I can't swim very well at all and I need a lot of help to achieve my goals.

What would you like to achieve?

There are basically three types of swimmers in the CrossFit Games:

  • Fasties – Those who want to race fast, compete hard, and get out with the leading group.
  • Finishers – Those who want to get the job done well and get through the swim confidently.
  • Floaters – Those who want to just survive the swim and save their energy for other events.

When do I want to achieve it?

It is critical to know when the event is going to be and how long the swim is. You'll need to know this information to help you plan and prepare for a great swimming performance. As a general rule, three sessions per week for three months will be plenty to help your prepare for most Cross Fit swims...depending of course on your starting point and your goals.

Train Your Mind

Swimming is as much in the head as it is in the arms and the legs.  The three most important things to remember are:

  • Relax-- Swimming is one sport where you can't “muscle-the-movement. Right from the first stroke think relax, smooth, easy and comfortable.
  • Breathing -- Breathing in swimming is simple. Take long, slow, complete breaths, aiming to breathe fully in and out with every breathing cycle.
  • Soft -- You can't swim faster by trying harder. Keep your hands and feet soft and loose when you stroke and kick.

Train Your Body

You don't need to be super strong to be a good swimmer: it's more important to learn how to use your strength correctly.

  • Body Shape -- Imagine your body as a torpedo. Try to imagine you're long, tall, strong and straight in everything you do in the water.
  • Chest -- Try to think about learning forward on your chest as you swim. This “chest-press position lifts your hips high in the water and makes for a far more efficient swimming position.
  • Head -- Your head should be in a neutral position as if you were casually walking down the street.  Keep your eyes looking down at the bottom of the pool as if you were walking along the pavement.
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