Lauren Brandon spent twenty years as a swimmer. Now she has over a decade of experience as a professional triathlete. Here are five lessons from Brandon’s thirty years in sport.
Put in the pool timeBrandon is one of the fastest swimmers in triathlon and her prowess came from her previous twenty years as a swimmer, starting from the age of five. Her advice to triathletes, from beginners to pros: put the time in. “Swimming is very technique oriented and I see triathletes shy away from putting the time into swimming. So many of my friends, even pros who weren’t great swimmers, just swim a ton in the offseason and make huge gains from it. It’s a sport if you put the time in, get a coach and get that one-on-one technique work, it will make dividends.” Underwater video, she adds, can be very helpful.
ConsistencyFrom performance plateaus and injuries to house renovations and the pandemic, Brandon has needed time off like any athlete but she doesn’t worry about missing a few days here and there. “Consistency is my number one,” Brandon says. As her coach, Julie Dibens has taught her,“it’s not about a few days here and there, it’s about consistent work, week in, and week out.” And, Brandon adds, “learning to be okay with that.”
Enjoy the Bumpy Ride“People put whatever they want on social media and put up how they want their life to look and it looks amazing and perfect—but it’s not. People struggle a lot more than we are honest about. Life isn’t easy but you can still enjoy it,” Brandon says. “The hard times teach you that when things are clicking along and going well, that it’s not the norm so really embrace those times.”
Women are Great Role ModelsSince Brandon started triathlon, more women have entered the sport but,“In terms of sponsorship, men are still more valued,” Brandon says. “There are women who are getting the sponsorships they deserve and hopefully they will continue to pave the way for the women behind them. We are just as great idols and role models and can do just as much for the sport as men. There’s a lot of women out there who look up to the women in our sport and come into the sport because of us.”
Game Face Isn’t EverythingBrandon isn’t known for her game face. “Even on race morning I’m smiley and talking to people but I have a super competitive streak,” she says. Brandon often leads the swim, sometimes even setting the fastest swim split for both men and women, and has carried that through to multiple race wins and podiums. “It switches when the gun goes off. I get into race mode,” she says with a smile. Never underestimate an athlete, especially Brandon, because of their smile. You’ve been warned!
I really resonate with your comment about women in this sport. I just began to train in August of last year and really enjoy being able to see myself in other women who are mothers, entrepreneurs, athletes ect.