Triathlon Swim Coaching – Save Energy and Get Faster

Efficient Triathlon Swimming  Philosophy

Transform Your Skills




Swim coaching manuals from the early 1900s up through the mid 1990s and later have traditionally focused on drills that include kickboards, pullbouys and high volumes swimming as a means to improve.   Coaches who learned to swim during this time period are now in their 40s & 50s and responsible for coaching youth, high school and collegiate athletes, as well as mentoring younger coaches.  That’s why you hear of “traditional instruction” as opposed to more modern and efficient swim instruction.   Coach Terry Laughlin of Total Immersion brought more modern skills to the lay public through his swim camps and books on self coaching.  Inspired by Bill Boomer, new ideas of learning to float and be supported by the water, rather than struggling to stay on the surface, became common place.  Efficiency in swimming skyrocketed when these balance, posture and streamlining ideas began to spread beyond coach boomer’s personal contacts.

By breaking down swim skills into small manageable components and then reassembling, your swimming stroke can be transformed into one that is smooth, enjoyable and faster than you have experienced.   The secrets of speed already lie within your own body and our job is to help you experience and understand how to apply this in your swimming.

Learn to Make Swimming your Favorite Activity

Most swimmers contact me because they want to swim faster…or they want to enjoy swimming more in order to pursue healthy physical activity. Whether you’re a rockstar triathlete or a retiring school teacher or any where on the spectrum of swim speed, you’ll learn to enjoy the PROCESS of learning to swim better.   We make swimming a mindful activity that infuses you with energy, helps you escape from the daily buzz and stress of your life, and incorporates whole body movements in a non-impactful, endurance and stress-reducing pursuit.  AND you’ll swim faster as a result.


Make Swimming The Best Part of Your Training Day

SuzSwimCoronadoMany triathletes and exercisers dread the process of getting up for the gym, getting ready, changing and going to do a ‘work out’ for any variety of reasons.  Maybe you’re nodding your head right about now?

By focusing on the process of swimming and getting your mind in the right place to practice gentle movements you’ll find yourself more energized as you learn to swim better.

Through this regular practice you’ll not only become a better and faster freestyle swimmer, but you’ll also begin looking forward to the pool as the best part of your training day.


Who Should Take  Swim Lessons from Steel City Endurance?

Triathletes of all levels

From learn to swim and complete your first triathlon, to crossing the finish line to qualify for Kona, both beginner AND elite triathletes can make improvements to their swim.  For the elite athlete, the basic laws of hydrodynamics can get challenging to manage as your speed and skills improve. It seems counter-intutiive, but to maintain progress and get faster at swimming, you need an experienced eye to help show you what you can’t feel or see on your own.

Adult Learn-to-swimmers

Steel City Endurance has a very non-intimidating approach that will ease you ito the water at your own learning speed, helping you gain confidence for your next trip to the beach or snorkeling vacation you’ve always dreamed of.  Improving your relationship with the water helps you be more confident AND safer around any water activity.

Masters Swimmers & Swim for Health

You’ll find yourself passing your old lanemates wondering what you’ve done differently and looking to YOU for instruction once you learn the fundamental mistakes that are holding you back.   If you’ve got joint arthritis or need to swim for your cardiovascular health, being able to swim easily and without stressing your neck, shoulders and back is vital for you to continue a healthy lifestyle with swimming.

Sign up the Lessons or Clinics that are Right for You

suzSwimUWPrivate Lessons

Sign up for one on one or small group lessons.  A minimum of three one-hour, or six half-hour lessons are recommended to allow you to completely transform your stroke for beginner, intermediate and fearful swimmers.

Included is video evaluation above and below water, with expert stroke analysis.  Technique development tailored to your current level of ability, clear instructions on how to structure your practice before your next less. Lessons are 55 minutes long.

Bring a Buddy

Sign up with a swimming buddy to improve your ability to practice proper swimming between lessons and on your own.  Learn what to look for in your parters form so you and your buddy can self-critique when swimming without an instructor.  Minimum lesson length is 1 hour.

Swimming Lessons for a Fast & Efficient Stroke

Lessons with Coach Suzanne Atkinson

Private (1) Buddy (2)
Single Lesson (55min) $85/$75  Add $30/$25 per person
Three Lesson Package $225/$210 (savings $30) Add $75/$65 per person (save $45)

Discounted prices apply to current members of any USA Triathlon Club:   $10 discount on all swimming lessons, $15 discount on packages of 3.


Video Analysis

Video Analysis

If a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth at least a million. Video analysis of your technique gives you instant feedback on the areas of improvement which will create the biggest impact on your form.

While many excellent books & websites exist that discuss efficient swimming or efficient running technique, until you see yourself on video you won’t understand what your biggest opportunities are for improvement.

If you are unsure whether you suffer from these basic (and common) running and swim problems, a private one-on-one lesson with a coach using video feedback will give you the biggest bang for your training buck to improve your efficiency and enjoyment while training

Common Swimming Problems

  • Lack of Basic horizontal Balance (front to back balance)
  • An elusive “dropped elbow”
  • Trouble seeing your bow wave
  • Kicking from the Knee
  • Recovery stroke de-stabilizing your breath

Common Running Issues

  • Heel striking
  • Landing in front of the center of mass
  • Bending forward at the Waist
  • “Sitting in a Bucket”
  • Open Elbows
  • Running Too Tall

Lactate Testing in Pittsburgh, PA

All athletes have common goals…to go further, faster. The single best predictor of performance has been shown to be your pace, power or velocity at lactate threshold. This has been demonstrated in studies of endurance athletes such as marathoners, but also applies to disciplines such as triathletes, road cyclists and off-road racers (mountain bikers & cyclocross racers)

Lactate threshold testing using a portable lactate meter creates a unique profile of your body’s metabolism. As your training plan creates improvements in your fitness a repeat test will demonstrate a visible “shift” in your lactate profile. If your power or pace has improved at your lactate threshold, you are guaranteed to have better performance and race results.

I can perform portable lactate testing in Pittsburgh, PA & surrounding areas either in my home exercise studio, or at your own home, club meeting, shop or fitness facility.

Additional Services

The following additional services are also offered

Swim video Analysis

Run video Analysis

Cycling Lactate Testing (on Computrainer)

Cycling Maximum Aerobic Power Testing (on Computrainer)


Swimming – Sold Out Clinic or Session

I’m sorry, the clinic or service you are signing up for is sold out!  But don’t worry..there are more clinics and sessions for you to choose from.

Return to the Swim Coaching page and check on the additional dates available. If you can’t find a session or clinic that fits your schedule, simply contact me and I’ll work together with you to find a time that works for you.

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Athlete Waiver and Questionaires

Congratulations on registering for Steel City Endurance Coaching Services.   Below you will find links to Adobe PDF or Microsoft DOC versions of the forms you will need to fill out depending on your purchase.   Just click on the link to download your items, print them out or fill them out digitally and mail them to SCE or bring them to your first lesson.

I’m looking forward to helping you become a better athlete!

Lists if forms here:


** to be updated **