PAN AM Triathlon Footwork

pan am triathlon          Triathletes are overcomers!  Of the three sports – swimming, biking and running – most triathletes are stronger in two. Bikers and runners, for example, may have poor ankle flexibility and find it difficult to do the straight-footed swimming kick. With one finish line, the clock is a tyrant for triathletes. Training becomes a lifestyle. Many do interval workouts based on the comparative energy required in each sport. Using the rule of thumb that 100 yards of swimming = ¼ mile of running = 1 mile of biking, they build up training blocks to beat the clock. (1)

The big time wasters are the transitions from swimming to biking and from biking to running.  Triathletes move from wet to dry, from no shoes to shoes, from horizontal to semi-vertical to vertical, from using one set of muscles to another, to another. Frustration can plague transitions: getting a foot stuck in a wet suit, lacing up shoes quickly, and managing blistered, swollen feet. Their woes compel wise preparation for every ‘next race’.  Triathletes are organized!  They enter transitions with physical and mental preparedness.

Swim –Balanced Footwork

The triathlete runs into shallow water before she begins to ‘dolphin’ – a shallow dive or leap forward. First, gliding under water, she stands up and leaps further into the water until it is deep enough to swim. She minimizes her freestyle swim kicks to stay balanced and to conserve energy.  Toes pointed, of course. Near the end, she ‘changes gear’, increasing her swim kick to get her blood flowing in preparation for moving on land.

Transition 1

On terra firma, she sprints to the bike racks.  Carrying her bike upright, she heads to the mount line. Alternatively, her bike is ready with shoes attached by rubber bands to the pedals; she hops on and coasts with her feet on top. As she starts to cruise, she puts her feet into her shoes.

Bike – Rhythmic Footwork

Eyes on the road and not her feet, the triathlete concentrates on her pedaling stroke. Initially, she works at a rhythm to let her heart rate calm down and to get ‘her legs back’.  Soon enough, she increases her tempo, pushing straight down on the pedal at the three o’clock position. With several minutes remaining she starts thinking “RUN”. She changes into a slightly bigger gear and pedals standing up. While still on the bike, she stretches her running muscles (hamstrings and calves). She dismounts ‘on the fly’.

Transition 2

T2 is fast but tough.

Run – Paced Footwork

The run begins on legs that feel wobbly and heavy. The athlete’s body must redirect blood to her running muscles. Her brain needs time to override the “pedal in circles” message. She pushes through until she finds her pace. Soon enough, her cadence of 90 rpms on the bike, matches her previous stride rate of 90/min.  In various segments of the race, she may pace herself differently. Ideally, it is a continuous build. She focuses on good leg turnover.  Her lower limbs feel ‘normal’ again.  She sprints for a good distance to the finish line.

Go to –

Resources:  (1)

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)



PAN AM Modern Pentathlon Footwork

pan am modern pentathlon          The pentathlon has always had an intentional military story-line.  The ancient Olympic combination of five sports mirrored their current-day battlefield experiences and techniques. The athletes were soldiers who trained in discus, javelin, long jump, running–in-armour and wrestling. Each sport, with its unique footwork, prepared them in strength and agility for the wars they fought on the ground.  Long ago, the pentathlon winner was celebrated as “the winner of all the games.”

The modern pentathlon – with its five new sports – also has a military tale to tell. A liaison officer was once sent by Napoleon into enemy territory to deliver a message.  This military courier’s horse was shot down; he needed to defend himself with his sword and his pistol. He swam across a raging river and finally – heroically – arrived at his destination by foot.  The disciplines of horsemanship, fencing, shooting, swimming and running reflect this reconstructed battle. Rife with symbolism, the pentathlon embodies pursuit and escape, facing and defying danger.  The significance of ‘feet crossing the finish line to deliver the message’ does just that.

Footnote:  The requirements of war continue to change; the cavalry now rides in tanks. Sport no longer plays a key role in training. Nor do battle experiences inspire combinations of sports for competition.  And yet, the pentathlon models and inspires the modern-day military.  Idealism in soldiering has been revived. The pentathlon’s inherent demands of courage, co-ordination, physical fitness, self-discipline and flexibility in ever-changing circumstances frame a mindset for military leadership training on contemporary battlefields. (1)

Go to –

Resources: (1)

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)


PAN Am Aquatics Swimming (In Pool) Footwork

pan am swimming in pool    Watching the Pan Am pool’s underwater cameras may be the optimal way to appreciate the depth and variety of footwork in swimming. Subtle, swift moves by both hands and feet propel swimmers along their lanes.

Footwork accompanying various swimming strokes: 

Backstroke: The ‘flutter kick’ entails kicking up and down with alternating legs. The kicking motion originates in the hips. Feet point away from the body.

Breaststroke: ‘Whip kick’ footwork has distinct phases: Initially, a glide of extended legs, close together and toes pointed. Then, knees and feet flex and move towards buttocks, pushing against the water. Next, knees part and feet rotate outwards. Then, legs sweep backwards and outwards, pushing against the water with the inside of feet and lower legs. Legs extend backwards but sweep inwards while feet rotate inward. Legs are now pressed together; feet are nearly in contact. Ready to glide and toes pointed, the new stroke cycle begins.

Butterfly: The swimmer’s legs do a simultaneous whipping motion with feet pointed called a ‘dolphin kick’.  As lower legs moves upward, feet are relaxed under pressure from the water. Alternating, the legs are extended and the feet are pointed during a downward motion creating more propulsion. For a short time, the top of the feet face backwards.

Freestyle (Front Crawl): The simple ‘flutter kick’ continues rhythmically during the whole stroke cycle providing propulsion and stability.

And then there’s the Flip Turn: Swimmers perform an underwater roll at the end of their lap and use their feet to push off from the wall.

Go to….Pan Am Schedule –


Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)


Re-enforcing Ability: Canadian Paralympians


The caption on this advertisement reads:  “She doesn’t want your sympathy. But her opponents might.”

(Canadian Paralympic Committee / Comité paralympique canadien)

This picture of Stephanie Dixon appeared in the Globe and Mail newspaper on March 5, 2011. She is one of Canada’s most successful Paralympic swimmers ever. Born with one leg, Dixon often trained with and competed against able-bodied athletes. She began swimming at age two and by age 14 was already on Canada’s Paralympic team.

Stephanie Dixon has many accomplishments: 

  • Setting numerous world records.
  • Winning 19 medals, the second most by a Canadian.
  • Setting a Canadian record with five gold medals, at her first Paralympics, at age 16 in Sydney.
  • Earning a university degree in psychology.
  • Coaching swimming.
  • Travelling as an ambassador for the Canadian Paralympic Association.
  • Being inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame.
  • Mentoring up-and-coming athletes with “CIBC Team Next”
  • Training with Canada’s national cross-country relay ski team in Whitehorse.


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Photo Source:;_ylt=A0LEVwuYr4dTrk8AayNXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0MWoxNW52BHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkA1NNRTM5OV8x?_adv_prop=image&fr=mcafee&va=canadian+paralympic+committee+photo+swimmer