Swim Coaches & Advisers

Meet your T Zero Endurance swim coaches and advisors

Jason Verhelst

Jason-Verhelst Swim Coach

Heath Thurston

Heath-Thurston Swim

Rob Verhelst

Jason Verhelst started with the Madison College Athletic Department in October of 2000 as a Sports Information Director, in the summer of 2014 was named the Assistant Athletic Director for Communications and in the summer of 2018 was named the Associate Athletic Director.  (Jason’s Profile)

Heath Thurston grew up swimming. He earned great accolades during his High School years. After his first blissful year of marriage, Heath had gained 50 pounds and in 2001 started doing triathlons as a way to get back in shape. (Heath’s Profile)

Rob “Fireman Rob” Verhelst In 2015, Fireman Rob became the Guinness World Record Holder for Most Ironman 70.3 Triathlons in one year, while inspiring tens of thousands by doing each run portion in his fire gear. (Rob’s Profile)

Open water swiming how will your body react to cold, choppy, water? How will your breathing and stroke need to be adapted? To feel at your most confident on the start line, it is important to have experienced open water swimming, before your event. Familiarity will help limit the potential panic of new experiences (alongside a frantic group start!) on race day.

Ideally, you want to replicate the conditions of your open-water swim and then (where possible) include a brick session with your bike, immediately afterwards.

Quick tricks for replicating open water training in the pool

For the majority of novice triathletes, the pool is where the bulk of their

Open Water Triathlon Swim
Open Water Triathlon Swim

triathlon swim training takes place. Measured and controlled, it is a world away from open water swimming. But that’s not to say you can’t use drills and exercises to help simulate aspects of your open water race experience.

Simulating longer distance ‘no-break’ swims

In the swim phase of your triathlon, you don’t have the luxury of resting during what is usually, at least, a 400m swim. There are no walls to push off from or make use of for added speed and momentary respite. To replicate the effort of a longer swim in the pool try this simple drill:

Begin by swimming 150m continuously, without pausing or touching the pool walls at each end. Remember to factor in a ‘no-touch’ turn around as you approach the wall. If space in the pool allows, loop under the lane ropes to give yourself a larger turning circle, and swim to the other end within the same lane.

Work up to a continuous 300m if you can, to help build your endurance and stamina.