What can I do any advice please
You should have a good engine as you say and so fitness is not lacking, its how you approach swimming that´s probably not helping. Breaststroke is fine if you stick with it (breathing is obviously easier) but freestyle shoukd be fully achievable in 24 weeks.
The following blogs should help you a lot in terms of breathing, being relaxed (as you should be breathing better) and also to simply develop your swim strength to match your overall fitness:
There are various other blogs on our website that relate and should help with your swimming.
Get yourself a pull buoy and use it for all your swims, as well as some paddles - and hopefully the blogs will explain why this is beneficial
We coach swim camps if you want a good kick start, but the above should help you a lot
I went into my first sprint triathlon as a complete noob - I couldn't swim half a length front crawl nevermind the 500m I needed to do.
The leisure centre that organised the event ran an 8 week beginners course, and those 8 weeks were enough to get me from "zero" to "finisher".
24 weeks is a luxury! I've seen Marathon training plans shorter than that!
It's sounds like you just need to find your breathing rhythm - but the best piece of advice I can give you is to find an adults swimming class. Go to that once a week, and then have another swim session on your own practising - you'll be away in no time!
Well, I went down to the Cardiff International Pool on Wednesday. Having not swum in a 50m pool since I was a child in the old Empire pool in Cardiff xx years ago, I met up with Chris Hill at his session. I walked in amongst the 4% fat brigade feeling decidedly flabby. After 200m of swimming at my own, inefficient floundering pace. I got a bit of a drill to do. and then another, What a difference a drill makes! I found myself doing ok. Interesting points that came from this. My position and body ln the water are good. phew. What is interesting is that whilst I thought that I was running out of air what I now think is that I am almost hyperventilating. finding my self gasping . my body is used to getting air at will so has not needed to be as efficient.
Armed with that realisation, I can now move forward.
It takes a little getting used to but once you've got your rhythm you'll stop thinking about it.
With regards to open water swimming - adding a wetsuit (and/or sea water) into the mix gives you much more bouyancy and as a result you'll swim faster. I've seen quite a few people "bottle it" for want of a better expression. At Mallorca 70.3 last year, my Mrs said she saw a guy abandon the swim at the second marker bouy - he must have been 50m out at the most (and could probably have waded back to the beach!). I felt sorry for the guy, he must have done the training beforehand to even turn up , but nerves got the better of him.
If you know you can do the distance in the pool, you can certainly do it open water too.
Thanks, this is a stepping stone, a long journey. I've taken my first step to the water, I'm aiming for May into the sea. I may as well target the warm waters of Mallorca. then to the distance then next year olympic distance then after both my girls are in school.. Ironman. There we are, it's in writing.
I was in the same boat - went from doing my first sprint in 2014 to 70.3 Staffordshire & IM Mallorca in 2016. (I love the event in Alcudia - going out for my 3rd race there in a few weeks)
Just keep going in the pool, the breathing will become natural. You'll get to the point where you knock out the 500m race distance no bother and then just decide to keep going... half a mile... a whole mile - when I did that the first time it gave me a massive confidence boost as I always thought Ironman was beyond me, as I'd never be able to do the swim.
My wetsuit arrived on Friday, tried it on for size on Saturday night and was in the water with a friend and a group this morning. Apparently I chose the right day, calm, mild 10 degrees. It felt good. I didn't swim much but 30 mins of light swimming and trying it out. I felt it was a success.