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Triathlon compatibility

Updated: Jul 18, 2021

To conclude this series, I will address the most commonly asked question, 'These champion swimmers all come from older generations. What about swimmers today who we can relate to?' This blog will satisfy, as I left it to last so those still reading can take solace that we have a champion swimmer of this generation. But first, let me make this very important point. All of the previous swimmers, their techniques and their training practice's are selected not for their great swimming ability. Rather because I believe all would have made excellent triathletes. Not only because of their strokes which are arm dominated, but none of these swim champs were Amazon's or Tarzan's like most swimmers of today. They were smallish in stature. No Ian Thorpes (6' 5", 105kg / 230lb), or Michael Phelps size here. They were all average to below average size men and women when compared to the normal population.

This whole series is and was about triathlon compatibility. After 25 years of espousing my philosophies we now have a current day champion swimmer who actually swims with these techniques.

Gregorio Paltrinieri Italy World Record 1500m 3 x World Champion 2015, 2017 1500m; 2019 800m Olympic gold 2016 1500m Gregorio Paltrinieri from Italy is the Trisutto triathlon swimming model that I always hoped to see to help triathlon challenged swimmers. The current champ has all the qualities, 2 beat crossover kick, high head position, breathes to one side. You don't need me to tell you, just take a look below:

Here we have the perfect example of a swim stroke that can go 400m, 1500m or 3.8km then jump out of the water ready to ride with fresh legs. With this stroke he could swim 10km and his legs would be ready to go. He is the ultimate poster boy for what I believe is true perfection in triathlon swimming.

I can't leave this series without mentioning the most beautiful modern day two beat technician Laure Manaudou. Her resume for an old swim coach who has a triathlon bent, she too is an absolute masterpiece in the water. Take a look at her please just for the enjoyment of watching greatness.


2 x World Record

3 x World Champion

Olympic gold 2004 400m

Olympic silver 2004 800m

Olympic bronze 2004 100m back

However, I must say, her stroke is matched with power, athleticism, talent and breeding. Be aware that her baby brother Florent, years later, held the 50m male short course world record (with two straight arms I might add). So it is quite possible they were pre-determined to be great in the water. The only females I try to impart her stroke to are elite swimmers who are trying to transition to triathlon. I have only coached 2 female athletes that I believed had the athleticism to try and adapt to such a stroke, from a non swim but 6 beat kick trained technique. Both had success in switching to two beat swimming. One, the great Nicola Spirig is faster with the straight arm model. While the other, also a great - the angry bird (Daniela Ryf), found it too difficult to train this way. I want to leave you with these two as both are supreme athletes, but they still performed better with modified strokes that suit them. So how can most age groupers hope to succeed by being a pale imitation? As Kitty or Big Nick says of Michael Phelps or The Thorpedo.., 'it makes no sense to me!'

In this series we looked at great swimmers who's swim techniques we can adapt to ordinary triathletes. We ignored the 6 foot 6 inch 100+kg freaks of nature. We should still remember that all of the swimmers highlighted started very young. They covered 1000s of km swimming doing a minimum of 10 swim sessions per week for at least 6 years before they hit the big time.

We at Trisutto are realists not idealist's. I can assure you one thing. Somewhere in this series, there is a stroke for all body types and a training protocol that if you open your eyes will make you a faster, more competent swimmer, and thus a faster triathlete. We have a generic first question I ask when a new student comes for my advice:

'Nice to meet you. Now be careful how you answer this... Do you want to look better in the water or do you want to swim faster?' At Trisutto they are two completely different things.

Just the way I see it


This brings us to the conclusion of our swim blog series, looking at the great swimmers in history who have helped shape the Trisutto triathlon swimming philosophy.

Please check the below link tree to revisit the series


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