Swimming Tips for Runners & Triathletes: Interview with Coach Anthony Lozada

Friday, 13 September 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

Swimming and I have a love/hate relationship.  I used to only swim in preparation for a triathlon.  Once the race was over, I would skip the pool for the road.  But, after Ironman 70.3 Cebu, I found myself swimming just for the sheer fun of it.

Good thing I’ve had great company.  Since May, while training for Cebu and even after the race, I’ve been swimming every Tuesday and Friday under the guidance of Coach Anthony Lozada and with fellow classmates Joey and Elaine.  I try to sneak in an additional swim during the week as homework.  (I hope the Coach read that last line…twice!)


 – with Elaine, Joey, and Coach Anthony –

Swimming has been good for me.  And, even better, it’s been good for my running.  I’ve found that, cardio-wise, I’m stronger.  It’s most noticeable when I’m climbing hills.  No more huffing and puffing.  Whoakay, maybe just a bit but with less whining.

Swimming has also been perfect for an injury prone runner like me.  It gives my weary running legs the opportunity to train without the pounding.  I’ve found that it actually loosens up my tired ankles after a run the previous day.

I also like the fact that I get an upper body workout now.  My flabby arms (Argh, it runs in the family. Thanks Mom…I still love you!)  and my postpartum belly (Yes, I still call it that even if I gave birth almost 9 years ago) have tightened up a bit.  Hopefully, like in a year, I get one out of the six pandesals of Ani de Leon-Brown’s abs. Wishful thinking. LOL.

Anyway, you get the point.  Swimming has been great for a runner like me.  You should definitely give it a try as a cross training activity.  To convince you even more, I sat down with my Coach and asked him more about the benefits of swimming for runners and triathletes…

TBR: Tell us about your background as a swimming/ triathlon coach
Coach Anthony: I’ve been teaching swimming for the past 35 years and coaching swimming for the past 16 years. I started coaching triathlon in 2010.  My credentials include:

  • Member(Coach)-Philippine Swimming Inc.
  • National Coach – 2004 Athens Olympics
  • International Triathlon Union(ITU) certified Level-2 Coach
  • National Coach-2013 Jeju ASTC ITU Development Junior and U23 Women Continental Camp, Korea
  • International Triathlon Union(ITU) certified Coaches Education Facilitator

TBR: What type of swim technique do you use in teaching swimmers or triathletes?
Coach Anthony: The type of swimming technique that I teach my students, both for swimmers and triathlon, is to maximize their “distance per stroke”. The guiding principle behind maximizing distance per stroke (DPS) is economization and efficiency of movements. During a long distance endurance race like triathlon, it will be more efficient to find an ideal stroke rate which translates to a higher DPS than just thrashing and powering your way across the water. With an ideal stroke rate with a high DPS, we are able to delay fatigue and the onset of muscle soreness. But, before my students can achieve that, I have to teach them the proper fundamentals of the stroke.

TBR: Would you recommend swimming for runners? Why?
Coach Anthony: I have to say that Swimming is a MUST for runners because not only is it a refreshing way to train. But runners can continue to develop their cardiorespiratory fitness or endurance while giving their body, more particularly their joints, a break from the pounding of running. Runners have to learn to swim because it is a “Safety Skill” that no one can do without.

TBR: Swimming is the most common fear among the three disciplines in triathlon. What tips can you give triathletes who wish to improve in swimming?
Coach Anthony: First and foremost is that they have to make sure that they enroll at a reputable swim school with years of experience in the field of swimming and have produced top level athletes, as they say “the proof is in the pudding”. Their teachers and coaches must have the proper training in being able to transfer their knowledge effectively to their students or athletes. Swimming is not an easy sport to learn and develop, teachers and coaches must be able to motivate and encourage their clients to achieve their goals and fulfill commitments to themselves. I have heard of a lot of individuals who have given up learning how to swim because their teachers failed to create an environment which is conducive to learning.

TBR: Can you give us three tips for swimming in open water during a triathlon?
Coach Anthony:

  • Tip #1- Never start a race without doing an ocular of the conditions of the swim course and swimming in it as well. Find your markers so that you will target these as you do your “sighting” and swim in a straight line.
  • Tip #2- Be confident in your training and try to avoid swimming too close to the lane ropes and buoys. In any tri race, these are where athletes crowd and it will be too tiring to keep on stopping or changing directions just to avoid them.
  • Tip #3- Since most triathletes train in a swimming pool, it will be best to practice turning already 5-meters before the wall (do some sighting drills at the same time) and avoid doing the push-off from the wall as you continue your laps. This will more or less simulate open water conditions where you have to maneuver around buoys.

TBR: Where and when do you teach?
Coach Anthony: I teach or train athletes in Makati, Pasig, Alabang and Sta. Rosa Laguna.. Schedule will depend on the area so it will be best to call me.

  • Mobile 0917-7932691/0922-8932691
  • Email: anthony@bertlozadaswimschool.com
  • Facebook: Anthony Lozada
  • Website: www.bertlozadaswimschool.com

Total Immersion Smart Speed and Open Water Skills Camp (Part 2)

Monday, 17 June 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

After a full day of swim camp on Friday (click HERE to read Part 1), I woke up the next day eager to learn more…


1) Classroom Session – 1 hour

After a light breakfast, we met Shinji for another classroom session. Here he showed us videos of his own swim and spoke in more detail about how to achieve speed with precision and proper technique rather than power. I remember him telling us: to be a better swimmer use your mind, not your muscles.

Here’s what Shinji mentioned are skills to increase speed:
1) balance and streamline to reduce drag
2) quick motion (hand spear and body roll)
3) focus on forward movement to save energy
4) use hybrid energy source

Shinji taught us how to increase speed without losing efficiency or stroke length. He said that the key to increasing tempo without losing propulsion is to use 1) Spear (upon entry), 2) Grip, and 3) Finish.

We were then given tempo trainers, a gadget like a metronome for runners which beeps to provide the rhythm of ones stroke. We were to use this for our next session. I decided to purchase one for P1800 so I could use it during training.

– Finis Tempo Trainer –

2) Open Water Session – 1.5 hours

We boarded a speedboat which took us to Anselmo, a cove with the water even clearer than the beach we swam in the day before. Even better, this was private so we had it all to ourselves!

– All aboard! Swim camp classmate Mara, Mark, Raymond, Sid, myself, and SBR’s Carlos –

– Anselmo –

– Our wonderful instructors: Sandra Taylor, Ria Mackay, and Karen Robertson –

– with the master himself: Shinji! –

It was here that Shinji talked about proper sighting, swimming straight or turning, drafting, and overtaking by increasing stroke length and not tempo. After a brief demo, we swam in pairs practicing our new skills.

– Swim class begins! –

– Learning in the water! –

– with my swim buddy –

We were then divided into small groups of around 10 swimmers led by a TI instructor. I was in Karen’s group.

We started out by the shore. She would brief us then give us a short drill or a specific area we should concentrate on, then she’d announce: “Now, practice it. 50 strokes.” and, like obedient students, we would swim out into the sea. This went on for about four or five more times. One time she told us to swim with our eyes closed so we could note how far we would veer from the center and determine the frequency of our sighting. Another time she asked us to focus on our arms in front of us. We went further and further out into the deep sea. Before we knew it, we had been out for an hour, wading, swimming, like a full-hour classroom session except this was out in the sea and we had been floating the entire time.

To end the session, Karen asked us all to set our tempo trainers to 1:20 and swim back to shore easy, on our own. We all swam with our newfound Total Immersion skills and, even if I hadn’t swam over 1k in the past months, I was amazed to find myself reaching the shore without even feeling exhausted. OMG it does work!

– with Karen –

– Class Picture! –

We were treated to a wonderful buffet lunch by the shore and some of us took the speedboat back to the hotel. Unfortunately, I could only stay until this session due to family commitments. For the rest of the day, some students had booked one-on-one full hour sessions with Shinji (separate fee from the camp fee). Later that evening, they had a Pool Session where all students were videotaped again. The videos were then evaluated during the Classroom session.

– Bonding time with the family before we took off for Manila. We loved Pico de Loro! –


On Sunday morning, an open water race 1k & 2k was held. It was open to the public, but all participants of the camp also had entry into this race. It was a great way for them to practice all the new skills they learned during the two-day camp. By this time, I was already at home in Manila, but I did see all the fun they had through photos.

– My classmates after the race! Congratulations everyone! –

– Race participants: Erwan, Mark, Raymond, Sid, Raoul, and Nonoy (my first TI instructor way back in 2009) –


The Total Immersion Smart Speed and Open Water Skills Camp is an excellent way for you to learn the skills of the Total Immersion technique. While you can take classes from Aqualogic Swim Co. or read books and practice TI on your own, learning from the master himself, Shinji Takeuchi, and the other great instructors, in this two-day camp definitely speeds up the pace, gives you immediate feedback on your areas for improvement, and makes it a more fun experience for you.

The camp was very well-organized. Everything—from transportation, food, accommodations, including special requests—were attended to. Shinji Takeuchi, despite English being his second language next to Japanese, is an engaging and generous speaker.  It need not be mentioned that he is a master of Total Immersion and he is well-equipped to lead the TI camp.  The other TI instructors were very knowledgeable, amiable, and helpful to all participants.  Perhaps one of the best things about this swim camp was the fun, light, and supportive atmosphere which made the learning experience even more memorable.


I would highly recommend this camp for beginner swimmers who want to learn how to swim for recreation, fitness or competition. I would also recommend it for beginner triathletes who need basic skills in swimming for triathlon or those who need to overcome their fear and build confidence for open water competitions.

Is TI for advanced competitive triathletes?  Ria Mackay mentioned that there is much debate over this and TI never promotes itself as the best technique for triathletes.  However, TI can promise to teach you efficient swimming with speed that can make you competitive enough for triathlon.  At the end of the day, it is up to the athlete to decide if this is the best technique for him/her given his/her goals.

The next Total Immersion Smart Speed and Open Water Skills Camp led by Shinji Takeuchi will be in September 2013. To register, visit Aqualogic Swim Co.

Ria Mackay – Head Instructor & Founder
Phone: +632.703.6386 / +632.837.1716 / +632.794.3393 / +63.917.858.AQUA (2782)
Email: info@aqualogicswimco.com
Website: www.aqualogicswimco.com

* Some photos courtesy of Aqualogic Swim Co. Photographer VT Roman

AquaSphere Total Immersion Open Water Camp

Wednesday, 3 April 2013  |  News + Promos

For wanna be swimmers, swimmers, triathletes out there!  Shinji Takeuchi, TI Japan head coach and the “world’s most graceful swimmer” as seen on Youtube is coming to the Philippines!

Event: AquaSphere Total Immersion Open Water Camp
Date: May 31 – June 2, 2013
Venue: Pico de Loro in Nasugbu, Batangas
No. of Participants: 30 only including international participants from Hong Kong and other parts of Asia
Tuition: USD 450 local residents / USD 550 international
* If you sign up with 3 other people (total of 4 participants), each one will get a $40 discount on the tuition fee.

Click HERE to download the Registration Form.

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For inquiries:
Contact Ria Mackay 0917.899.6545 Monday to Friday after 5PM

The Family That Swims Together

Wednesday, 13 May 2009  |  Running + Triathlon

Last year, I took Total Immersion (TI) lessons with good friend Nonoy Basa and since then I looked at swimming in a whole new light.

Since the start of this year, there have been only a couple of weeks when I missed a swim. I cover at least 1km 2-4 times a week depending on my availability.

I used to turn to swimming as my last resort when running aggravated an injury, spinning hurt the knees, or the elliptical was too boring. But, after one unforgettable swimming day, when I experienced the same inner peace that I used to get only during solo runs, I found myself seriously immersed into the sport. (No pun intended.)  

So, as with running, I have recruited the entire family into the sport.

The kids have started lessons with Aqualogic Swim Co., the same company operated by Ria Mackay and Nonoy Basa that taught me Total Immersion…

– Little Miss Bull Runner had a tearful 1st session but is all smiles by the 2nd class –

– Surprise, surprise!  One of my daughter’s instructors is Dess, one of the few female finishers of the Bataan Death March Ultramarathon

– TBR Jr. on break –

And, just this morning, I accompanied the hubby on his first day of TI lessons with Nonoy. I swam 1k while the boys took their swimming lessons seriously.  

– Fitness First team cyclist Joel, Nonoy, Jamike (Try-Athlete) and my hubby –

Next week, I hope to add runs after the swims. Now, that would be just perfect training for Animo Tri, right?  I wonder when I can get the whole family to join that with me?

For more info on kids/adult swimming classes, contact:

Ria Mackay – Head Instructor & Founder

Agnes Medel – Administrative Assisitant

Or call 0917.858.AQUA (2782)/ 703-6386

Click here to visit the website of Aqualogic Swim Co.

Double Training Day

Thursday, 23 October 2008  |  Running + Triathlon

As corny as it sounds, the greatest gift this blog has given me was the opportunity to meet people who share the same passion for running as I do. Yesterday, I realized that I started and ended the day with some of these people with whom I have had the good fortune of training (and talking and laughing) with:


When Mary Anne first commented on this blog, I couldn’t help but reply immediately.  We had too many things in common: both in love with running, in our 30’s, and with 2 kids.  When I met her, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that we also had the same NB 1222’s (that we’ve now gotten rid of) and we live in the same area.  Then, last month, we bumped into each other and discovered that we both signed up for our first tri at Animo; she instantly became one of my text mates for pre-tri anxieties over wardrobe and gear.

Yesterday, Me-Anne and I met up for a quick swim at 7 a.m.  I usually swim on my own and, most of the time, that’s the way I like it; there’s something about swimming alone in an olympic-sized pool early in the morning that allows me to reconnect with myself, feel completely at peace, almost like I’m a step closer to heaven even if half my body is submerged under water.  Yesterday, however, I was glad to have some company. 

Me-Anne and I are both newbies at swimming but we’re trying our best to improve with hopes of doing better at our next tri (don’t ask me when that’ll be). We spent perhaps half of the time talking in between laps, but I’d like to think we got some exercise in that morning. I swam just 500m but Me-Anne probably did more. Let’s meet up again soon, Me-Anne!


I met up with Marga, Hector, Neville, and Don (Jeremy, where were you?!) at ROX, Bonifacio High Street for a quick run around BHS. It took us forever to start (too much conversation going on) but, hey, once we started, we ran a good steady pace all the way (not surprising when you run with these ultra runners). 

Sometime during the run, Neville talks about the first time I emailed him requesting for an interview for this blog. Wow, it seemed like ages ago! Then, I remembered how I met Marga via email when we promised to meet each other at Milo last year. And, when I first saw Hector as he talked about the Nike Lunar during the test run months ago. As for Don, I finally got to meet him recently after hearing so much about him from Marga.

So, there I was running around BHS realizing how much shorter these loops seemed when you talk with friends rather than run solo with an ipod.  Neville even spiced things up a bit when, for one loop, we did what he called “Indian Running” wherein we all ran in a line with the leader setting the pace.  The last man in the line then heads towards the front to take leader position and the cycle goes on until everyone collapses (I’m kidding about the last part.)  We ended our run alive and breathing at 7.5km for around 50mins. drinking to Neville’s stash of electrolyte drinks in the BHS parking lot.

Double training day was doubly fun with friends. I would do this again in a heartbeat.  If only I had all the time in the world!