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Tough Takes

Sue Teoh: Improving your swim – How you should spend your time and money

Sue Teoh - Swim class
Sue Teoh (in white) conducting a Master Swim Class at British School KL

For most triathletes, swimming is a chore they have to endure to enjoy the rest of the triathlon experience. You have to finish that swim within the cut-off time to continue the race.

Start working on your techniques early in the season, it takes time to learn a new skill (an Olympic swimmer takes nearly 10,000 hours of training to master their swim, so go figure!). Get these things right and speed will come sure enough!

Invest your time in improving your swim techniques.

What’s the difference? Technique makes a big difference in both speed and required effort. In other words, better technique means you go faster with less effort. You won’t struggle as though you’re the victim in the movie Jaws!

Be a smarter swimmer. Spend an hour a week with a coach correcting your strokes and you will become a more efficient swimmer. You’ll get concrete results as you watch your swim times go down.

Invest your money in private stroke correction classes

Get corrections from an experienced swim coach instead of getting bits and pieces of swim tips from everywhere. Save yourself the time by checking yourself in with a professional coach. No matter how good tips and videos are, it can never replace a good swim coach. Even world class swimmers need coaches and they are constantly working on their techniques.

Join Master swim classes

Getting yourself into a group is one of the best ways to improving your swimming. You’ll have a coach who gives you a training program and stroke instructions. Training next to someone who is about your speed or faster creates competitiveness while training so that is always a plus point to push yourself to make that time.

Sue Teoh - Swim class
Get your swim stroke right with Sue Teoh (in white)

Save money with Group classes

Group classes are cheaper but less effective since a coach has to share his/her attention with everyone in the group. Swimming in a group with your peers also helps keep you motivated.

If you are one to feel anxiety and get stressed out swimming in close quarters with other swimmers, this will be a great place for you to practice getting used to some chaos while trying to remain composed and continuing your swim or even get competitive.

Try out those Open Water Swimming (OWS) Clinics

We often don’t get a chance to swim in the open water so make use of those clinics to get used to race conditions especially for first timers.

Practise swimming continuously without help from a wall, sighting, swimming in a crowd and navigating round the buoys. These are all valuable OWS skills you’ll need on race day. The more you practise the more confident you will be of completing your swim.

Like I always say to my swimmers, the first thing to do is get your techniques right and your confidence up.

#TrueStory. You often hear people say in Triathlon, “Don’t spend too much time on swimming, just concentrate on your bike and run”.

If you are a very competent swimmer and have no issues completing your swim well within the cut off time, then yes you could spend more time on your bike and run. However, if you are barely scraping by in your swim, then that theory needs to be thrown out the door! It’s all in the technique.


Sue Teoh - Swim class
Get pointers on how to improve your swim with Sue Teoh (standing in white)

Join Sue’s Swim Coaching and get your technique right!

Group class at British School KL

  1. Masters Swim – Intermediate/Advanced (Mondays 7pm)
  2. Masters Swim – Beginner/Intermediate (Mondays 8.15pm)
  3. Stroke correction – Beginner (Fridays 8.15pm)
  4. Stroke correction – Intermediate (Fridays 7pm)

Private classes for individuals/group are also available upon request.

Contact Sue Teoh at suesueteoh@gmail.com or call +60125156020.

Follow Sue Teoh, Fitness Trainer on Facebook here.


More about the author

Sue Teoh is an internationally certified personal trainer and triathlon coach, accomplished athlete excelling in competitive swimming. She is currently part of Malaysia’s National Triathlon team. Through coaching, she passionately helps people of all ages achieve their fitness and lifestyle goals.

Follow Sue Teoh, Fitness Trainer on Facebook here.