On 9 July, I presented a Triathlon and open water lecture for the Dolphin Swim School in Lenasia. Julie Adams is the owner and head coach of the school. She recently started a masters squad and her swimmers needed some specialized triathlon and open water information. The lecture was accredited by CGA and carried 3 SSA CPD points.15 swimmers and coaches attended the lecture and the swimming workshop that followed.

I started the lecture with a quote from Kate Roberts.She is a accomplished SA Olympic triathlete.

“The unique combination of disciplines means three times the challenge but also three times the sense of achievement. Triathlon is an irresistible combination.”

During the triathlon lecture I covered:


  • Types of triathlons
  • Training and setting programs
  • How to start (distance, load)
  • Measuring fitness
  • Season, monthly and weekly plans
  • Rest and recovery
  • Swimming, cycling and running
  • Equipment
  • Transitions
  • Race day tips

I was accompanied by Michard Conrad one of my triathletes. Michard became active in 2010 after he bought his first bicycle – a mountain bike. He cycled on weekends and lost about 20 kg in the first year. He maintained this lifestyle until just after his 30th birthday in 2014 when a friend challenged him to a mini off-road triathlon. It was a 600 m swim, 20 km mtb ride followed by a 4.5 km trail run… it was a real struggle, but he really enjoyed it. Not too long after that, he challenged a couple of friends to then do the half Ironman in Durban so in May 2015 he started doing laps in the pool at the local gym and running around the block near his house. In the beginning he could only swim 500 m or run for 3 km before his couch potato body was saturated with lactic acid. Three long months later on 2 August 2015, he lined up with his two friends and 2000 other eager and nervous athletes for the inaugural 70.3 ironman in Durban. That evening he was an awkward combination of broken and ecstatic after finishing in just under 7 hours. But the bug had bitten him and he was hooked on triathlon. Since then he has completed the 70.3 Durban another two times. He has also done half distance races in the Ultra triathlon series – Sun City and Midlands and earlier this year he finished Ironman South Africa in PE.

Michard explained his training strategy in his own words:

“During the course of this journey over the past few years I realised that I needed some help. Starting 2016 I joined a running club and halfway into the same year I joined a cycling club. Towards the end of the year I started getting run coaching through the running club and the cycle club provided a wealth of cycling experience and opportunity for group rides. In November 2016 I joined Annemarie Dressler and her masters swimming group for structured swim training and coaching. My swim leg in 70.3 Durban has improved from my first attempt at over 42 minutes to my most recent result of 36 minutes!”

Following his improvement in the 2017 Durban event he qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships to be held in Chattanooga, USA on 9 and 10 September 2017.

“I look forward to pushing my limits at World Champs and hope to continue with this sport for some time to come.”

Michard provided the group with some valuable information on cycling and running. Both technique and equipment. I was very great-full for his expert knowledge and his willingness to share it with the group!

During the open water lecture I covered:

  • Differences between open water and pool swimming
  • Water conditions
  • Open water training principles
  • Creating open water programs
  • The concepts of sighting, drafting and interference from other swimmers
  • Good open water swimming technique including pace, stroke rate and bilateral breathing
  • Before the race, race day (Physical prep, Physiological prep, course familiarization and warm up
  • Start, rounding buoys, finish

I finished my talk with the wonderful quote from open water coach Sean Kelly.

“The key challenges in open water are swimming in a straight line, being able to navigate your course and swimming with an economical, efficient stroke,”

After the lecture we did a technique session in the Lenacia VA. Here swimmers were focused on the correct swim and sighting technique.

I want to thank Julie and her fabulous swimmers for a very enjoyable morning. Thanks for the opportunity.

Julie Adams introducing Annemarie Dressler

I would also like to thank Adriaan Snyman, one of my loyal squad swimmers for taking all the pictures and videos. He is also my web-magician!


If you need any more information on any of the concepts I covered in the lecture feel free to contact me through my web-site – Swimfit.co.za