Well, good on you for doing tri's. I would if I could run, but my ankles and knees are... shot. I am currently training for an 8 mile swim. I am also a former competitive swimmer. Without looking at your stroke, it is hard to say, but the thing about breathing hard? If that is somehow holding you back, you need to look at how you are breathing because I personally breath ** very ** hard.
Are you holding your breath until your head is out of the water and then exhaling and inhaling all at once? If that is the case, you need to be exhaling during the entire stroke cycle. You breath and immediately start exhaling just as you would while running. By the time you cycle for air again, all that is left to do is breath IN.
Does this help?
Also, at 1500 meters, you'd have to take about 60 minutes to complete the distance for the sprinters to catch you. 1500 is nearly a mile and my current mile pace is right about 30 minutes or a little under. So if they start 30 minutes later and take 30 minutes, that's 60 minutes. Am I missing something? If this is indeed your pace, we should chat a little more about your stroke to see what can be improved...
| current weight: 193.5