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Swim Stroke Styles: What They Are and Why They Matter

Benefits of Incorporating Different Swim Stroke Styles into your tri training

Triathlon swimming is different from competitive swimming. You’re in open water with a bunch of triathletes on the same mission: to reach the end of the swim as quickly, efficiently, and safely as possible. The distance of the swim will help you determine which swim stroke style you should work on during training to do your best on race day. Your current skill level in the water is also important to factor in. Keep reading to see the benefits of learning multiple swim strokes during your training for your upcoming tri. 

Why Different Swim Strokes Matter

In open water racing, you’ll find yourself having to swerve around other athletes. You may also have to stop quickly to avoid getting kicked and make tight turns around buoy markers. Adding in new strokes for just one of your workouts per week will make a difference in being able to react to these circumstances in an efficient way. Not only that, using different strokes will cause you to use different ranges of motion resulting in less strain to particular muscles and more of a complete shoulder and chest workout.

Freestyle Stroke

Freestyle is the best-known swim style stroke, and the most common stroke we see out at Jack’s Generic Tri, because it’s the most efficient swim stroke you can learn. It takes you farther than other strokes without expending more energy. Freestyle also gives you a full-body workout. It works the muscles in your arms, legs, core, and back. If you are looking for a particular swimming stroke to strengthen your back muscles, freestyle is definitely the way to go. Although the most efficient stroke, it can also be difficult to master. One of the most important things to focus on during training is your breathing. You can practice this by using the flutter kick while holding a kickboard out in front of you and practice rotating your face in and out of the water to breathe until you’ve established a rhythm you can replicate in the open water.

Benefits of the Freestyle Stroke

Click here to learn more about the freestyle stroke

Backstroke

Backstroke is rarely used during a triathlon, but it is a great stroke to incorporate into your training because it helps your shoulders unwind after sticking with one specific stroke for a while. This stroke is great for improving hip rotation. It also works your shoulder flexibility in the opposite way from freestyle. Depending on the length of your swim, mastering backstroke is always a great alternative to have up your sleeve. Your face stays out of the water, so you can breathe whenever you want. Backstroke is extremely useful when you need a bit of a rest period or if the water is choppy on race day.

Benefits of Backstroke

Click here to learn more about the backstroke

Breaststroke

Breastroke is the perfect swim stroke style for building strength in your hands by using them as paddles. This will translate into a stronger pull in freestyle. It’s a great way to switch things up and focus on different muscle groups. If you’re hesitant to hold your breath, breaststroke is great because you breathe every stroke. You can also complete this stroke without having to put your face in the water. Some argue breaststroke is the slowest swimming stroke, which may be a con for people who prefer speed. This stroke can be done for longer periods of time, so it can serve as an endurance workout. It’s a good alternative to your regular stroke as a way to mix in some cardio and burn a lot of calories in a session.

Benefits of Breaststroke

Click here to learn more about the breaststroke

Butterfly Stroke

If you’re looking to challenge yourself in the water, the butterfly is the way to go. This stroke was named after the movement in which you move your arms and is great for strengthening your core. This is important to triathlon because a strong core aids in swimming, cycling, and running. Butterfly requires a great deal of strength and coordination that takes time to develop. Not only does is this stroke a great workout to build abdominal strength, but it also strengthens your shoulders and chest. Each stroke requires that your core muscles have enough power to pull your arms over the water. Just a few laps of butterfly leaves you feeling its effects and burns the most calories of any swimming stroke. If this stroke is something you’re interested in perfecting, consider joining a Masters Swimming Program to get to proper coaching and guidance you’d need.

Benefits of Butterfly Stroke

Click here to learn more about the butterfly stroke

Keep in Mind:

Although your goal may be to complete the distance as fast as possible, you have to pace yourself. Triathlon requires you to be as efficient as you can in order to save energy for the bike and run later on. Incorporating different swim strokes into your training builds strength in other muscle groups, reduces the risk of injury, and breaks the repetitiveness in your swim sets. In the meantime, try these ways to stay motivated to keep up with your tri training and we’ll see you at JGT in no time!

5 Ridiculously Relatable Triathlon Memes That Will Make You Laugh

For those times when you’ve hit the wall during your training, remember: you are not alone!

A little humor never hurt anyone, so we’re here to help you laugh through the pain as you train for your upcoming tri with these relatable memes for every triathlete.

 

17th Annual Jack’s Generic Triathlon Sees Sizzling Times

17th annual JGT featured massive finish line festival, beer garden, and Brad, the water-spraying unicorn

Fleet Feet Austin's Ari Perez hangs out with Brad, the water-spraying unicorn, at the 17th annual Jack's Generic Triathlon.

Fleet Feet Austin’s Ari Perez hangs out with Brad, the water-spraying unicorn, at JGT. Fleet Feet Austin is the Official Running Store!

The 17th annual Jack’s Generic Triathlon (JGT) took place this past Sunday, August 25th, at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park in northeast Austin. More than 700 triathletes from all over Texas and 11 states registered for this beloved Central Texas triathlon. Hundreds of spectators arrived early to cheer on friends and loved ones. Overcast skies provided excellent weather for fast times and PRs by everyone who crossed the start line.

“I loved every minute of Jack’s Generic Tri, especially the amazing atmosphere created by the volunteers,” said Jordan Martindale, who completed his second ever triathlon (1:21:10). “JGT made me challenge myself and is something I will definitely do again!”

Pablo Gomez took the overall victory with the time of 57:15. Second and third place overall featured a close race. Peter Murray (57:58) edged out Adrian Cameron (58:03). The women’s podium was topped by Kearci Smith with a winning time of 1:05:35. Second place finisher Mina Pizzini (1:06:27) and third-place finisher Brandi Swicegood (1:07:44) rounded out the women’s field. Marcus Cook, who once weighed 500 pounds, traveled from Houston to finish in 1:49:30. All participants cooled off from the Texas heat underneath a 6-foot tall inflatable unicorn that sprayed water.

Professional triathletes love Jack’s Generic Tri

“The half distance is normally my focus, but it was a ton of fun to race a sprint triathlon in Austin,” said Smith, who is currently coached by former professional triathlete Paul “Barny” Matthews. “I’m proud to be the 2019 JGT female champ. There’s nothing like race day, you can’t simulate it!”

2019 Jack's Generic Tri champion, Pablo Gomez, crosses the 17th annual JGT finish line.

Pablo Gomez, 2019 Jack’s Generic Tri champ.

Participants received a commemorative 17th-anniversary shirt, sunglasses, reusable water bottle, swim cap, finisher’s medal, post-race food and beer, and the signature swag toss. Professional timing, a wonderful volunteer crew, hundreds of supportive spectators, and an electric finish line festival made the 17th annual Jack’s Generic Triathlon one to remember. Jack’s Generic Tri was created with the participant in mind and is well-known as one of the more participant-friendly triathlons.

“JGT is a summer favorite for me and I’m super pumped to take the overall victory in a competitive field,” said Gomez, who also won the 2019 Rookie Triathlon (45:28). “High Five put on another great event and this will help me begin the second part of my season.”

Jack’s Generic Tri would like to thank all of the volunteers for coming out and making yesterday’s event memorable. Their willingness to arrive extra early, lend their time and energy, and cheer on every participant truly made the 16th anniversary unforgettable. JGT would also like to thank sponsors City of Austin, Travis County EMS, Austin Police Department, Travis County Sheriff’s Department, City Limit Cycles, Ascension Seton, Fleet Feet Austin, nuun hydration, RunLab Austin, CampGladiator, Oskar Blues Austin, and Z’Tejas. Jack’s Generic Triathlon participants can see their times here. Participants and spectators can relive race day on JGT’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Jack’s Generic Triathlon Builds 17th Edition for Hundreds of Triathletes

17th edition features triathletes of all levels, from pros to first-timers

High Five Events, one of the largest privately owned event production companies in the United States, continues their 2019 triathlon season with the 17th edition of Jack’s Generic Triathlon. The event will take place on Sunday, August 25th, at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park in East Austin. More than 700 triathletes will participate in this beloved Central Texas race, including professional triathletes Kearci Smith, Brandi Swicegood, Peter Murray, and Pablo Gomez.

“I am really excited to race Jack’s Generic Triathlon for the first time,” said Smith, who placed 8th at the 2019 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. “With the option of an open wave I look forward to the opportunity to race some great local competition.”

Smith was also the 2016 and 2017 Texas State Sprint Triathlon Champion. Swicegood finished second female at 2018 JGT. Peter Murray and Pablo Gomez finished 2018 JGT first and second overall, respectively. Drunk Athlete has put together another super team featuring Patrick Pressgrove, Stewart Mickler, and Cat Adkins. All athletes have been featured on the Austin-based Drunk Athlete podcast.

Generic details

Jack’s Generic Triathlon will begin at 7:30 a.m. It will feature a 600m swim, 11.2-mile bike ride, and a 5K. The aquabike will consist of a 600m swim and 11.2-mile bike ride. Relay teams of two or three can complete all three disciplines. 

Jack’s Generic Tri has three different divisions: Open, age group, and Athena/Clydesdale. The Open Division allows participants to begin regardless of age, with a mass swim start. Everyone else will start based on their age group, with two participants entering the water every few seconds. Jack’s Generic Tri is also returning the Athena and Clydesdale categories.

Participants receive a commemorative 17th-anniversary shirt, sunglasses, reusable water bottle, swim cap, finisher’s medal, post-race food and beer, and the signature swag toss. Professional timing, a wonderful volunteer crew, hundreds of supportive spectators, and an electric finish line festival will ensure the 17th Anniversary of Jack’s Generic Triathlon is one to remember. Packet pickup will take place at Mellow Johnny’s in downtown Austin.

Jack’s Generic Triathlon was created 17 years ago with the participant in mind and is well-known as one of the most participant-friendly triathlons. Registration is open for Jack’s Generic Triathlon. Volunteer positions are available as well. Triathletes who can’t make it to Austin can participate in the virtual Jack’s Generic Triathlon.

Tips to Get Your Best Race Photos During Jack’s Generic Tri

Get race-photos you can’t wait to show off with this list of tips for how to look your best in race photos

We all want great shots of ourselves during the race to look back at and cherish later on, but we all know flattering race photos can be tricky. I, personally, find it challenging to get a good photo of myself regardless of what I’m doing, so you can bet a Facebook-worthy action-shot is even more of a challenge. However, with this list of tips and some self-awareness, you’ll be prepared to look your best in your Jack’s Generic Tri race photos. After the race, don’t forget to tag us @JacksGenericTri

Swim Portion

1. Think about your form

Lookin' cool finishing up the JGT swim portion!

Lookin’ cool running out of the JGT swim portion, heading into T1!

The photos that are captured in the water are obviously not going to show a whole lot of your face. What the photo will capture is your form in the water. If you know photographs are being taken, attempt to tighten up your form. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how awesome a mid-swim photo of yourself can be!

2. Be ready to Smile

As you are walking/running out of the water, you can count on one of our amazing photographers to be there to capture the moment. Pro tip: smile BIG! We love seeing our participants having a great time moving on to the next portion of the tri, and these are often some of the coolest photos we get from Jack’s Generic Tri!

Bike Portion

Keep your eyes on the road and flash the photographer a smile when you pass them by!

Keep your eyes on the road and flash the photographer a smile when you pass them by!

1. Check your positioning

Bike photos are an awesome chance to get a great close-up race picture. However, no photo is worth losing control of your bike. We know everyone has their favorite riding position to be in when in the saddle. Rather than changing the position you’re comfortable with, simply give the photographer a smile or a thumbs up when you cruise past them! You’ll be very impressed at how they turn out. 

Run Portion

1.Position your bib Before

To make sure your personalized bib can be seen in your race photos, place it in the front-center of your race shirt/suit.  This is also important for the automated photosystems to use this to tag your photos. This way you don’t have to sift through thousands of photos to try and find yourself!

2. Stand Tall

After running for a while, we tend to let our shoulders fall forward. When you see the photographers up ahead, stand up a little taller! No matter how you feel on the inside, this is a sure way to make you look effortless during the run portion. 

3. Increase your stride

Elongate the appearance of your legs by lengthening your stride for a couple of steps! You don’t want to do this for the entire run portion of JGT, but it won’t hurt for a photo or three when you catch a glimpse of the camera (not to mention, you’ll love how long your legs will look in these photos)

Giving the photographer a thumbs up, about to cross the jGT finish line!

Giving the photographer a thumbs up, about to cross the JGT finish line!

4. Relax your face and think positive

We know, easier said than done, but start practicing now on your training runs. Make your cheeks soft and say the word “Money.” Give it a try in the mirror and see for yourself. Hopefully, you’ll already be smiling due to all the fun you’re having at JGT, but when you see a photographer ahead of you relax your face and enjoy yourself, and the pictures are bound to turn out fantastic!

5. Have fun!

Probably the most important piece of advice for your best race photos. If you’re having a good time, it’ll show in the pictures. The photographers are there to capture your accomplishments, so the most important thing to remember is to have fun! You’ll be able to look back at these photos forever, so it’s important to make the most out of your experience.

You can pre-purchase your 2019 Official FinisherPix race photos now at a discounted price.

We hope to see you out there on the racecourse with us on August 25th! If you do decide to join us for Jack’s Generic Tri, use these tips and get ready to see your best race photos ever!

 

Revealing the 2019 Jack’s Generic Tri Participant Bibs

Get the first look at this year’s JGT bibs designed especially with you in mind!

Get ready to get generic this August 25th and get ready to show off your personalized bib! Customizations are available until July 31st, so don’t wait any longer, and sign up today!

Jack's Generic Tri bibs revealed

First-look at the super sleek 2019 JGT participant bibs!

 

We can’t wait to meet you all on race morning at the start line! In the meantime, keep up the hard work during your JGT training!

You Need This Essential Triathlon Equipment Checklist

Pursue your love of triathlons the right way!

It’s never a good idea to wait until a couple of weeks or days leading up to your next tri to get all your necessary gear together. We’ve created a checklist of the essential triathlon equipment you’ll need to be a pro triathlete in no time.

Bike

Choose the best bike for youSimple enough, but one of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll need. You can’t complete a triathlon without a bike. From tri bikes and road bikes to mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, and cruisers, we’ve seen just about everything on the JGT course. Whatever kind of bike you have will be just fine for your next tri. Whether you’re currently in the market for one or are looking to improve your current ride, here are some suggestions for your perfect ride.

Pro tip: You can always rent bikes to test it out before you buy.

Helmet

Arguably the most important piece of equipment you will need for a triathlon. A safe tri is a fun tri, so it’s important to make sure you have a helmet that protects you. The fit of your helmet is crucial in the case of an accident. It is also a good idea to make sure you test them out in person to ensure a correct fit before purchasing your helmet.

Running Shoes

Running shoes are a must. It takes time to figure out what will make the run portion the most enjoyable and painless for you. Everyone is different and has different needs when it comes to a running shoe, so make sure you’re choosing the perfect pair of shoes. Hopefully, by now you already have a favorite pair or have a pair on the way, and are ready to take on the JGT run course. Pro tip: It’s a good idea to wear your running shoes to the race, to avoid forgetting them along with all your other essential tri gear.

Swim Goggles

Of course, you need goggles for the swim portion. Open water swimming tends to frighten people, so it will make you feel better to be able to see while completing the swim to see the buoys. Also, depending on the weather race day, choose goggles with the appropriate amount of tint to avoid hindering yourself during the swim portion.

 

Swim Cap

Swim caps are great for eliminating drag and increasing your speed in the water. JGT provides our participants with a bright colored swim cap specific to your age group to keep the groups together and help with the time trial swim start. Per USAT rules, swim caps are required for safety purposes to be able to identify swimmers in the water.

Pro tip: Wear two swim caps on race day with your goggles in between the two. It will prevent any sort of slipping your goggles may encounter.

Swimsuit or Tri Suit

A standard swimsuit can come in a one-piece or two-piece. You will need to come prepared with a pair of cycling shorts after you complete the swim if you opt for the swimsuit. Then there is a tri suit. A tri suit can also be in one or two pieces, but the bottoms resemble cycling shorts. The key difference here from a wetsuit is the pad included for cycling is not nearly as thick. Find what you’re most comfortable in to be ready for your next triathlon. Lastly, if you plan on doing your training in a pool, the chlorine can damage your suit. It’s always a good idea to have one you train in, and one designated for race day.

We advise shopping around before you make your purchase regarding these different pieces of essential triathlon equipment. Everyone has their preferences, so take some time to guarantee you get the equipment best for you and your body.

 

Oskar Blues Austin Returns to Jack’s Generic Tri Beer Garden

JGT welcomes back Oskar Blues Austin to the JGT finish line festival

High Five Events announces Oskar Blues Austin will return as the Official Beer Sponsor of the 17th annual Jack’s Generic Triathlon. Triathletes (21+) will celebrate with Oskar Blues’ Austin-brewed beers at the finish line festival’s beer garden. Jack’s Generic Tri will take place on Sunday, August 25th, at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park in Austin.Oskar Blues Austin returns to sponsor the Jack's Generic Tri beer garden!

Oskar Blues isn’t just a beer brand, it’s a culture, a vibe and a community of folks kicking butt together, the beer just brings all of that together,” said Leilani Howard, Marketing Manager Oskar Blues Brewery Austin. “We are stoked to be part of Jack’s Generic Tri to celebrate with the triathletes, their families, and friends.”

Oskar Blues Austin

Oskar Blues Brewery Austin will offer finishers and spectators Austin-brewed craft beers on race day. Jack’s Generic Tri’s beer garden will provide triathletes and their friends and family a place to gather. They can relax and enjoy select Oskar Blues’ craft brews post-race. Available beers will include Austin-brewed voluminously hopped Dale’s Pale Ale, refreshing Mama’s Little Yella Pils, and sessionable Pinner Throwback IPA.

“Triathletes love crossing the JGT finish line and celebrating their accomplishments with friends and family and an ice-cold Oskar Blues beer,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “We’re excited to have Oskar Blues and their crew join us for a generic time on August 25th!”

Jack’s Generic Triathlon will begin at 7:30 a.m. It will feature a 600m swim, 11.2-mile bike ride, and a 5K. The aquabike will consist of a 600m swim and 11.2-mile bike ride. Relay teams of two or three can complete all three disciplines. Jack’s Generic Tri was created 17 years ago with the participant in mind and is well-known as one of the more participant-friendly triathlons. Registration is open for Jack’s Generic Triathlon. Volunteer positions are available as well.

Each participant receives a commemorative 17th Anniversary shirt, sunglasses, and water bottle. They will also receive a swim cap, finisher’s medal, post-race food and beer, and the signature swag toss. Professional timing, a wonderful volunteer crew, hundreds of supportive spectators, and an electric finish line festival will ensure the 17th Anniversary of Jack’s Generic Triathlon is one to remember.

Why You Should Try a Masters Swimming Program

Make Masters Swimming your new favorite way to train for JGT

Don’t let the word “Masters” scare you. Rediscover your love of being in the water, while getting a workout in by joining a Masters Swimming Program. You’ll be a pro at this year’s Jack’s Generic Tri swim start after becoming comfortable with swimming in groups. Masters programs are all over the nation and offer a wide variety of training techniques, workouts, and much more.

What is Masters Swimming?new swimmer

Masters Swimming is a national program that provides swimming clubs for adults. Membership is open to people 18 years or older, and 25 years or older to compete at national U.S. Masters Swimming events. From beginner swimmers to advanced, Masters Swimming is for anyone looking to improve their skill set in the water.

With guidance from an experienced coach, you are guaranteed the improvement of your swim strokes. Along with your confidence in the water. Whether you are trying to get better at swimming, or simply love to be in the water, there are many benefits of taking up Masters Swimming.

What’s in it for me?

Most importantly, being in the water works out your entire body. No matter what the drill may be, aqua workouts can improve your flexibility, endurance, and your overall muscle strength. Different level classes offer basic swim advice and tips on how to change up your swim training plan. In addition to your JGT swim workouts, you’ll likely discover new swim training methods you may have never heard of.

masters swimming strokes to learn

If your goal is to work on becoming more fit, Master’s Swimming is for you. If your goal is to keep up with your current state of fitness, Masters Swimming program is also for you. Perfect your current technique, or learn a few new ones with swimmers like yourself.

Practice is key to make you more comfortable in the water over time. Last but not least, having a club you belong to is a great motivator to encourage you to keep up with your training, and have fun in the process!

Jump in!

Come on in, the water's fine!

There are many programs around the nation that offer swim groups you can join. Austin Triathlon Club has a great list of the different facilities nearby that offer Masters Swimming based on your experience level. Depending on where you are reading this, use Club Finder to find Masters Swimming organizations near you. For our triathletes out there, getting used to swimming with others will make the swim far less intimidating. That’s just one reason why Masters Swimming is the best practice you can get for the swim portion of Jack’s Generic Tri.

Transition Details – What You Should Know for a Smooth Race Day

Knowing transition details will make for a smooth race day

The best way to ensure a successful and generic Jack’s Generic Tri is to be prepared. Here are some transition details that will help guarantee a smooth experience the morning of August 25th. Jack’s Generic Tri is located at Walter E Long Park in the beautiful city of Austin, Texas. Transition opens bright and early at 5:30 a.m. and closes at 7:00. Don’t forget to grab your goggles and head to the water before the race begins at 7:30.

Body marking

Volunteers will body mark the participant before they enter transition. Body markings are written in marker on arms and legs to identify the participant with their bib number and age.  Arms and quads get marked with the participant’s race number and the right calve gets the age of the participant.  Relays get an “R” for relay in place of age.

Triathletes should have bib information and age (age on Dec. 31st of race year) ready for the volunteer to make the process go faster for everyone.

Bib Numbers

Have bib numbers and wristband ready. Put the bike sticker on the seat post of your bike before you get to transition on race morning.  Put the helmet sticker number on the front of your helmet. You will also need to wear your wristband in order to get into transition.

Racks

Transition will have racks assigned to each age group. It is open racking within your age group. You must be body marked and wearing your athlete wristband before you enter transition. Only participants are allowed in. Friends and family (including children) must wait outside of transition.

City Limit Cycles will be available outside of transition for any last-minute needs. They’ll have bike pumps for airing up your tires. Once transition closes, you will not be allowed back in. Make sure and arrive early.

Pro tip: Remember where your bike is by keeping track of which rack your bike belongs on. This will be predetermined according to age. (?)

There will be designated racks for the participant to put their bike on. It is very beneficial to become familiar with the flow of transition. This means after the swim,  should know where they will be entering transition and where they will be heading out on the bike.  After the bike, they should know where they will exit for the run.

Relay corral

Relay team members will rack together. Team members will wait in the relay pen near the rack. Their team member will return their items to the rack and then meet the next team member in the pen to exchange the chip.

Bike check out

Bikes will not be allowed out of transition until the final cyclist has completed the bike course. It is expected that this will be around 11:00 a.m. Participants will be allowed back into transition after they finish, but bikes may not be removed from the racks.

Location

Know where transition is located by checking out this map on our website!