Open Water Swim Workouts with Andrew Bolton

2019 Welland Long Course Triathlon Race Day Summary

Some pre race, bike course footage and post race recap video.



Warm Spring Days are Good Training Days

By Chris Yuen

For those who live in the Northeast, the warmer weather has finally arrived, and many triathletes finally take their bikes outside, and enjoy the sun and spring scenery while spinning. As for me who is not aiming to podium, I just want to train, be prepared, and to complete the Welland Rose City Triathlon in June as well as Barrelman later in the season.

Because enjoyment is my goal and being able to go through race day without severely bonking (aka “hitting the wall”), consistency and base building are key in my training. Again, I must emphasize my plan below is not to aim for fast finish times on races, but to build adequate fitness to get through these endurance races. So, my training plan includes the following aspects:

  • For each discipline swim, bike, and run, two to three workouts each week until taper.
  • Do not go hard on every workout.  More than half of the duration is low intensity and easy.
  • Do not train in a workout all in one single pace.  Try a few paces in every workout to work on different heart zones.
  • Practice nutrition during long workouts.

For example, over the last weekend, I used the bike partroling volunteer opportunity at the Grand Island Half Marathon as a workout. For the sake of background, my triathlon club has been volunteering for years to go bike patrolling in smaller local half marathon races. This is to make sure that the runners on route are safe, and we carry extra water bottles in case of the runners needed them before reaching to the next aid station. Of course, we also try to be encouraging and cheering on the runners when they need motivation to get through tough secations. All in all, I did this for several years, and it has been a great way to connect with the community. Anyways, back to the workout, last weekend’s patrolling was one of my bike workouts. While it was very low intensity to ride about 35 km following runners, I managed to get a couple miles of higher intensity after all the runners completed the race and the route was free and clear. Thus, with the different pacing at the end, this volunteer work has practically all of the aspects listed above.

I am looking forward to the Welland Rose City Triathlon weekend in June. I signed up for both the long course (2 km swim – 56 km bike – 15 km run) on Saturday and sprint race (750 m swim – 20 km bike – 5 km run) on Sunday. So for the bike portion, I will need to build up the distance in a gradual manner. That’s what the warmer spring days are for.

Getting (Un)Comfortable

By Matt McGuckin

For me, the swim was always the most daunting part of triathlon. If you don’t come from a swimming background, it’s challenging to know how to train for an open water swim. So, for all of us aquatically-challenged triathletes what’s the key to a successful open water swim?

My first few triathlon race swims were a disaster. I read articles and found strategies about how to have a good swim on race day in preparation. Most articles will tell you to make sure you warm-up properly, start at the back of the race, pace yourself, etc. – These are great tips, but you’re at the 500m mark treading water and wanting to ask the guy in the kayak for a tow back to the shore, they aren’t much help.

I finally found swim success after adopting the concept of getting (un)comfortable during my training sessions. Like many, a lot of my swim sessions are either focused on technique or endurance/pacing – don’t get me wrong, these are very important. But, every once in a while, I will add in an uncomfortable training session. The key to these drills/sessions is to learn how to control your breathing, HR, and anxiety when things go awry. Here are a few methods that I’ve used to get myself feeling (un)comfortable:

  1. Eye’s closed sets – Swim lengths with your eyes closed while your head is in the water. You can open up your eyes when you breathe so that you can spot your lane rope and make sure you’re not running into other swimmers. In the open water, you can’t see the bottom of the lake so it’s harder to pace and swim straight. This is a great way to break up the monotony of lane swimming during an endurance session.
  2. Hypoxic sets – these are great for a number of reasons, but here the focus is to challenge your ability to control your breathing and anxiety. I typically breath every 3 strokes. When I swim hypoxic sets, it looks like this:

3 Sets

100m breathing every 3rd stroke (medium pace)

100m breathing every 5th stroke (a bit slower pace but should be challenging)

100m breathing every 3rd stroke (medium pace – reconnect with a normal rhythm)

50m breathing every 7th stroke (same pace as second set)

100m breathing every 3rd stroke (medium pace – reconnect with normal rhythm)

The key here is using every other set to allow yourself to reconnect with your normal breath and rhythm (breathing every 3rd stroke for me). Don’t allow yourself to take breaks and start with smaller distances if needed. This skill will come in handy if you start out too hard in a race or if you get nervous/anxious while you’re in the water.

  1. Swimming in busy pools – This isn’t ideal for getting a lot of mileage or working on technique, but it’s great at teaching you how to spot ahead of you and pass swimmers when you need to.
  2. Open Water Practice – obvious, I know. Ideally, you can swim in a small group for safety. If you do train in open water by yourself, it can be pretty nerve wracking. You have to be paying attention to boat traffic, spotting your course, and there’s no one there to bail you out if you get into trouble. I trained in open water by myself and found it invaluable to increasing my level of comfort in the open water. If you are going to do this, choose a lake with less boat traffic and use a Swim Buoy.

STAC Performance partners with the MultiSport Canada 2017 Triathlon Series

BARRIE, ONTARIO (February 28, 2017) – MultiSport Canada (MSC) is excited to announce a partnership with STAC Performance for the 2017 triathlon season. STAC Performance is the perfect training partner for the avid triathlete.  Initially funded through Kickstarter, the STAC Zero bike trainer is designed to be completely silent and easy on your tires.

Instead of using a flywheel and roller to push up against your back wheel or a direct drive system, the STAC Zero uses magnets to create resistance. Two neodymium magnets are placed either side the rim — which needs to be alloy — and as the wheel spins they create resistance.

“STAC Performance, creator of the STAC Zero silent trainer, is proud to join the Skechers Triathlon Series as a sports technology sponsor”, said STAC Performance CEO Andrew Buckrell. “STAC is looking forward to working with MSC to develop new training and racing technologies to help racers of all levels.”

STAC Performance will be onsite at all Skechers MSC races this summer. The year’s race series will take place on the following dates: June 24/25 (Rose City), July 15/16 (Gravenhurst), August 6 (Kingston), August 12/13 (Bracebridge), August 19/20 (Toronto Island), August 26 (Wasaga Beach) and September 9/10 (Lakeside).

About STAC Performance

STAC Performance, located in Kitchener, Ontario, is the creator of the STAC Zero, the world’s first Zero noise, Zero contact, Zero tire wear bike trainer. The STAC Zero has sold into 29 countries and is on influential reviewer DC Rainmaker’s 2016/2017 recommended trainer list. Learn more at

About MultiSport Canada

MultiSport Canada (MSC) was founded by John Salt and Mike Buck in 2002.  The first race was held in 2002 at Erin Meadows Community Centre and has now grown into Canada’s largest triathlon series with over 9,000 athletes participating in multiple races.  MSC owns and produces the Skechers Performance Triathlon Series, the Niagara Falls Barrelman, and The Ontario Women’s Triathlon.  MSC is also one of Canada’s premier event management companies contracted by several other event partners and not-for-profits such as the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation and Joe’s Team. Learn more at

Join us for opening day in Woodstock

We will have race day registration at Woodstock.

So come and join us for our season opening race this Saturday June 11th, and get your chance to race against Lionel Sanders and our Recharge With Milk Ambassador Team members.

See you for all the fun on Saturday.

Register for Welland before Monday June 13

wifc swim

The new swim venue for Rose City (Welland) Triathlon Weekend

Register for the Rose City (Welland) Triathlon Weekend before Monday June 13, to beat the final price jump.

We’ve got a new swim course, run course, and the Long Course race is part of the Triathlon Ontario’s Long Course Series Championships.


Race against Lionel Sanders at Woodstock

You can race against the “Green Flash” on Saturday June 11 at #MSCWoodstock.



Join Cody Beals at Belwood on July 9


Cody Beals winning the Welland Half Iron in 2013

Ten years ago, Belwood was my first very triathlon. I still remember the excitement, apprehension, confusion, and questions that accompanied my first race. That’s why on July 9th, I’ll return to the MultiSport Canada Belwood Triathlon to lead a free clinic targeting beginners. I’ll be on site to answer questions, share tips, help athletes get set up and familiar with the course, and provide the moral support we could all use on race day.

And I may be tempted to go after my own course record from 2014… See you there! ‪#‎racelocal‬

Learn more about Cody Beals.

Race Day Triathlon Clinic with Cody Beals presented by Martin’s Apple Chips

  • Cody will be there 1.5 hours before the race to set up a mock transition with his gear in a designated space in the transition area.
  • In the transition area, Cody will answer questions and provide advice and encouragement, before leading athletes through an optional warm up.
  • Participants are encouraged to follow up with Cody after the race at the Martin’s tent for feedback, goal setting, snacks, etc.
  • The clinic will target beginners, but all are welcome.
  • A Martin’s Apple Chips draw prize will awarded to one of the clinic participants.

We invite to you take advantage of this incredible opportunity to interact with this personable world-class athlete. Register for #MSCBelwood today.


Mark your Calendars and Save Money!


Woodstock, Welland and Belwood will see a price increase in May.

Welland, Belwood, Gravenhurst, Kingston and Bracebridge will see a price increase in June.

View the pricing details page for important dates!