Swim Smooth Podcast with Craig "Crowie" Alexander

We've just released the latest episode of the Swim Smooth Podcast featuring a special interview with 5-time Ironman World Champion Craig "Crowie" Alexander:

Youtube (including video): www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsjxcswT0vE

Crowie was the 2008, 2009, 2011 Ironman Triathlon World Champion and the 2006 and 2011 70.3 World Champion. In 2011 he won both the 70.3 and the full Ironman World Championships. Needless to say - he's a beast, but best of all, he's an absolute gentleman too!

Craig was humbled when Ironman legend and six-time World Champion Dave Scott lauded him as “the first true men’s champion the sport has seen in years.”

The most important thing to Craig is family. He is beyond proud of his wife (and the love of his life) Nerida, and his three amazing kids, Lucy, Austin and Lani. Everything Craig does starts and ends at home with his family. Crowie’s won a lot of titles over the years but the one he likes best is ‘Daddy’. As an aside from us, we've only met Crowie once face-to-face but recall how genuine and approachable he was and when the opportunity to record this podcast with the great man came up, he didn't hesitate, such is his show of great character - he's very much "the people's champion" as you'll hear in the first 60 second intro.

Post-retirement, Craig now runs his highly successful coaching program SansEGO (which basically means "without ego") which we believe, at it's heart, is a philosophy we can all learn from (details at: www.sansego.co). A lot of people talk about “life balance” but Craig really does walk the walk and his information from his website is well worth a deeper dive, especially at this period in time of extreme uncertainty and worry:

His load was extraordinarily heavy but he carried it with methodical focus and balance… and Craig seemed to find more and more comfort with his confidence in simply letting be, be. Alexander’s most impressive talents are not found in his swim, bike, or run competence. Instead, his unique ability to clear the mind’s clutter and make good decisions has been the key ingredient to his success on and off the racecourse. And this key to finding clarity for the 5 x Ironman/70.3 World Champion was getting the life balance right. He put the right people around him and understood that the whole was only stronger than the sum of its parts when the clutter (ego) was removed from the equation.

We really hope you enjoy this conversation with Crowie and a big shout out to Coach Chris Southwell for arranging.

Swim Smooth!

Getting Back In The Open Water - Our Guide

At Swim Smooth we're very lucky that the local government in Perth, Western Australia has started to allow small groups of people to train together in open water. This opens up the opportunity for our home base coaching crew to restart some group swim coaching in the beautiful Swan River. We haven't had a single case of community transmission in the last two weeks in Western Australia, making it one of the safest places in the world right now.

Rules vary significantly from country to country but as restrictions are lifted you too might soon have this same opportunity to swim in open water where you live. With that in mind Swim Smooth Head Coach Paul Newsome has filmed a new video we've just released to Youtube showing you exactly how he's going about conducting safe and fun open water sessions with his swimmers:

As a swimmer, we hope that inspires to get you into open water action as and when you are allowed. Equally we wanted to show other coaches around the world a possible template to get themselves back on track and delivering sessions again.

Most importantly make sure you stay safe, only swim where there is good open water safety cover and strictly follow your local restrictions.

Swim Smooth!

Here's some more shots from the fun in Perth:


The Key To Improving Your Swimming In A Single Picture

With many parts of the world starting to open up after the Covid-19 crisis, you might be able to return to swimming quite soon, probably first in open water. With that in mind, this week on the blog we thought we'd gently re-introduce the idea of how to go about improving your swimming when you do get those arms turning over again.

Firstly, do you know your Swim Type?

After observing tens of thousands of swimmers in action over 20 years of coaching, our Head Coach Paul Newsome identified 6 classic types of swimmer, from beginner right through to Olympian. We call this system Swim Types and it cleverly brings together your background, your natural build, your personality and your stroke technique into one cohesive picture. From that starting point we can address your weaknesses so you start improving.

Get started by discovering your type here: www.swimtypes.com

To get your brain cogs whirring, we thought we'd choose a simple visualisation for each Swim Type which sums up what you need to do to improve your swimming in a "big picture" holistic kind of way. Print it out, stick on your fridge, and every time you go to get the milk out you'll be reminded of what you need to work on.

How accurately does your image apply to your swimming?!

The Arnie

Arnies are the classic swimmers who fight the water when they swim. A large feature of the Arnie strokes is a crossover with the lead head crossing the centre line in front of the head. This causes you to snake down the pool, wasting a lot of energy in the process.

Here's the image we chose for you - it's of the very awesome Jono Van Hazel, extending straight forward in front of his shoulder:

Take this simple visualisation with you when you get back in the water, focus on extending straight and not crossing over and you'll immediately be setting off on the right pathway to improvement.

The Bambino

Bambis, this is yours:

For most Bambinos a lack of confidence is holding them back in the water. This directly impacts on your stroke technique which is normally overly gentle and lacking "oomph".

The next time you get back in the water visualise that you are in fact a swimming super-hero and swim with purpose and intent. You'll immediately feel good and your stroke technique will improve from great positivity. Go on, dive right in, you can do this!

The Kicktastic

As is pretty obvious from their name, Kicktastics have a strong tendency to over-kick when they swim. This reflects a lack of propulsion from their arm stroke - which happens because they pull through under the body with a very straight arm.

Kicktastics, your single visualisation is to bend the elbow and pull through with it bent to 100-120 degrees. The hand should track underneath the shoulder as it does so:

Not only does this create more propulsion but it engages the larger muscle groups of the back and chest, so feels easier too. The result is faster, easier swimming with less reliance on your kick.

The Overglider

OK guys, here's your visualisation:

What can you see? Nothing? Great! Give your google search engine a rest and stop thinking and over-analysing your swim stroke so much. Over-thinking when you swim is seriously holding you back, instead try using intuitive feel and your body's innate abilities to swim more naturally.

The Swinger

Swingers naturally swim with a high stroke rate - giving them great punch and rhythm to the stroke. This is a good thing but oftentimes they end up hurrying the catch at the front of the stroke, "tearing" at the water. Try this visualisation to smoothly engage with the water at this point and not overly hurry your movements:

OK we cheated a little and gave you a moving image but you get the idea - caress the water before driving with your usual sense of purpose once you stroke moves under your chest.

The Smooth

Smooths have all the natural ability in the world... but ironically them often lack motivation to make the most of this natural ability.

With that in mind, here's your visualisation:

Yes, we just want to see you back in the water! Overcome that lack of motivation by setting a solid goal that fires you up, get those competitive juices flowing again and actually get back in the blue stuff again!

Stay safe and well,

Swim Smooth!

HUUB 50% OFF SALE - Understanding Buoyancy Profiles

As we are sure you've noticed, we've got some stunning 50% OFF deals on 2020 HUUB wetsuits right now. Remember the sale ENDS ON MONDAY! : shop.swimsmooth.com/collections/50-off-huub-sale

HUUB wetsuits come in three major buoyancy profiles and it's important you choose the right one for you, for maximum comfort, stability and of course speed.

These buoyancy profiles are labelled 3:3, 4:4 and 3:5. But what do these numbers mean and which is right for you?

The numbers refer to the thickness of the main areas of neoprene: 3 = 3mm (that's thin for a wetsuit), 4 = 4mm and 5 (you guessed it) = 5mm, the maximum legal thickness in triathlon.

The first number refers to the upper body of the wetsuit and the second the lower body. So 3:5 means 3mm in the upper body and 5mm in the lower.

Obviously more thickness means more buoyancy but where that buoyancy is placed is super important:

The Sinky Legged Swimmer

If you have sinky legs (as many men and some women do) then you obviously want to lift your legs up as high as possible with your wetsuit to minimise drag.

Maximum buoyancy all over then? Actually, no! You want maximum buoyancy in the legs (5mm) but minimum buoyancy in the chest (3mm) because your body acts a bit like a see-saw in the water. Bring your front end down with less buoyancy in the chest and that brings your legs up even more to reduce drag further.

Of course having nice thin material in the upper body also gives maximum flexibility for shoulder and upper back movement - peachy.

Recommended profile: 3:5
Suits: HUUB Brownlee Agilis 3:5   HUUB Varman 3:5   HUUB Aegis II 3:5

The Naturally Buoyant Female Swimmer

Most women have great natural body positions in the water, sitting nice and high with the legs near the surface. If this is you, you might actually dislike swimming in a wetsuit because it makes you feel unstable, awkward and unable to use your kick as you'd like to.

That happens because a high buoyancy wetsuit lifts you too high in the water, leading to instability and causing you to kick into thin air! This is further exacerbated in the ocean where the extra buoyancy from the salt water lifts you even higher.

The solution here is to make the whole suit from 3mm neoprene - a low level of buoyancy overall which allows you to sit in a natural position in the water. The difference is remarkable and the thinner suit keeps you looking slim, is super comfortable and easy to get on and off too - smooth!

Recommended profile: 3:3
Suits:  HUUB Aegis III 3:3  HUUB Brownlee Agilis Womens

The Neutral Male Swimmer

Many experienced swimmers have good body positions in the water but could still benefit from a small lift at both the back and front to bring their drag down a smidgen. Those with a competitive swimming background normally fall into this bracket.

If this is you, 4mm in both the upper and lower body is a nice compromise. It allows you to retain a natural feeling when you swim and if you like to engage your kick you can do that cleanly too. If you've never swum in a wetsuit before you'll be amazed at the extra performance a great suit can bring.

Recommended profile: 4:4
Suits: HUUB Brownlee Agilis 4:4 

If you have a question about your choice of HUUB wetsuit or sizing of it, then send us an email to help@swimsmooth.com or simply reply to this email.

And don't miss those deals! :

Swim Smooth!

More Visualisation = A Better Stroke

Paul Newsome - Swim Smooth Head Coach:

"When I started training for the Lake Windermere swim this year, I was only able to swim 5-6 hours a week. After a few weeks I was surprised to see that I was making similar improvements in my training to people in the squad who were training 8-10 hours per week. I realised that simply being on the pool deck thinking about swimming and constantly demonstrating good stroke technique was giving me much needed visualisation time and turned out to be equally beneficial for my training as spending time in the water."

Studies show that visualising a movement activates the same areas of the brain as actually performing that movement. This means that taking the time to visualise a perfect swim stroke really does assist in developing great technique. In swimming, where stroke technique is so important to improve your efficiency and speed in the water, more visualisation could be the answer!

Here's the thing: In a training session it is easy to lose focus during long sessions, which could mean you only end up thinking about your technique for about a quarter of that time. If you normally swim 2-4 hours per week, that means you might only have 30-60 minutes a week of active visualisation.

How can we boost that? We suggest setting aside 3x 10 minutes a week to visualise great stroke technique, which will boost your visualisation time without having to spend more hours in the water. Making this small addition to your weekly routine will have a positive impact on your stroke technique when you do return to the water.

At Swim Smooth we have a wealth of resources available to you to assist with "land based visualisation" - it is very much at the core of our swim program. Use them regularly to develop your swimming:

Our Animated Stroke Visualisations

This is the perfect visualisation tool. You can view Mr Smooth's stroke from pretty much any angle to focus in on the parts of your stroke that need the most work. If you don't have it already, download it onto your computer or iPhone totally for free:

And for just US$2.99 / GB£2.99 you can also purchase the PRO version which includes Miss Swinger demonstrating the Swinger stroke style:


Elite Swimmer Visualisations

Swim Smooth's library of elite swimmer visualisations is unique and extensive. Some of these can be found on Youtube and many more in the Swim Smooth Guru (Standard level subscription required).

Here's a selection of five of our favourites:

The phenomenal olympic swimmer Jono Van Hazel - the basis for the Mr Smooth animation and perhaps the smoothest swimmer in the world? Watch out for his beautifully timed symmetrical stroke: www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3HhNlysFDs

Triathlon World Champion Jodie Swallow, all rhythm and power: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M0dFLueVME

Double Olympic Gold Medallist Rebecca Adlington - simply poetry in motion: www.swimsmooth.guru/video/dN/rebecca-adlington/

Six time world marathon swimming champion Shelley Taylor Smith demonstrating a phenomenal catch and beautiful two-beat kick: www.swimsmooth.guru/video/lP/shelley-taylor-smith/

Triathlon World Champion Tim Don, another fantastically rhythmical stroke full of purpose and agility : www.youtube.com/watch?v=3r99sWPLgLI

Paul Newsome's voiceover on these videos makes sure that you are focussing on the right things when watching each clip.

Rebecca Adlington in the Swim Smooth Guru

Whilst we are unable to actually be in the pool at the moment, let's harness the power of visualisation to make improvements in our stroke technique.

Swim Smooth!

BRAND NEW Dry-land Stretch Cord Sequence On The Swim Smooth Guru!

During the current global situation we need to be creative and adapt the service that we offer to better suit your current situation. Many of our Swim Smooth coaches around the world are experimenting with different ways to deliver squad sessions and catch up with their members away from the pool deck. These include coffee mornings, happy hours and dryland training sessions - all virtual of course!

Jana Oosthuizen - Swim Smooth Johannesburg

Our Swim Smooth Johannesburg coach Jana Oosthuizen has developed a Dry-land Stretch Cords Sequence for the Swim Smooth Guru to develop shoulder strength and stabilisation whilst you are out of the water. There are 54 exercises in total split into 8 sections, each section has a 5-8 minute video to accompany it.

Not only do these exercises build strength but they will improve the stability and mobility of your shoulders which will in turn improve your stroke technique. They will keep your swimming muscles and nervous system nicely activated and ready for use on your return to the pool.

Click here to get started with these exercises (Guru subscription required).

The Cheat Sheet for Dry-land Stretch Cords Sequence

Here's some of the feedback that Jana's received on the sessions from her own squad swimmers:

“These dryland exercises are great in identifying where the weakness in certain muscles are. Mine is definitely external rotation. With the dryland cords one can really concentrate on the positioning of the hands, arms and shoulders which isn’t also easy to do in a pool.” - Lewellyn

“So who would have thought swimming with no pool is possible ...ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE...
We have soooo enjoyed our squad training outside the pool ... it's tested our muscles ... joined our squad together in isolation and above all made us hungry to swim ... LOVED the muscle burn.” - Candy

“Jana’s land-based sessions came at a time when pools were closing in SA, and they quickly and effectively filled the space this created. The sessions are dynamic, challenging, and your muscles remind you for at least two days after. Swimming muscles all beings thoroughly worked as is evident when one goes into the pool for one of her stationary swim sets. The program is quick, and varied, so keeps it interesting, and improvements are noticed weekly which keeps it motivating. Brilliant work Jana!” - Thomas

Jana's swimmers completing the Doggy Paddle drill using the stretch-cords...

... and giving the session marks out of 10 afterwards!

As well as being a Swim Smooth Coach, Jana is a fully qualified physiotherapist in South Africa. She obtained her Physiotherapy degree, Cum Laude, from the University of Pretoria in 2009 and completed her Orthopaedic Manipulation Therapy (OMT) 1 Certificate during 2011. She qualified as a Certified Swim Smooth Coach in July 2017 and is super passionate about swimming and helping people of all abilities swim better.

When all the pools in South Africa closed, Jana wanted to develop a Swimming Specific Dryland Cord Exercise Program for not only her squad swimmers but also our Swim Smooth Guru Users. It has been an absolute pleasure for Jana to design this programme, knowing that all the Swim Smooth squads & fans around the world will benefit from her exercises!

Check out the full program in the Guru here:

Swim Smooth! 

Only The Bores Get Bored!

In February, we welcomed six coaches from around the world to our mothership pool in Perth for their Swim Smooth coach certification course. The coaches were put through their paces and emerged from the two weeks with all of Paul's tips and tricks to take back to their own squads:

A Talented Bunch: Swim Smooth Coaches Certification Class of 2020
Penny Mullan from Vancouver Island was one of the amazing coaches who attended this year's course. Penny's dedication and hard work before, during and after the course has meant that in only two months since the course, she is close to receiving her full Swim Smooth certification. Once certified, Penny will be joining Bart Rolet (Montreal) and Mary Jessey (Calgary) to become our 3rd coach in Canada.

As one of her coaching challenges, Penny was given the task of writing a blog post for Feel For The Water and we wanted to share this with you as we feel that her chosen title and topic is very apt considering everything that is going on at the moment. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did.

So let's hand over to Penny:

Only The Bores Get Bored!

This was my grandmothers response whenever I said to her “Flossy, I’m bored”.

As with most impactful moments, this comment resurfaces as I moved through my life. Every time I start to feel a little bored with my swimming my grandmother’s words chime in my head. Am I really such a bore when I don’t feel like swimming 3000m in a 25m pool (back and forth, back and forth)?

Well perhaps, but being a ‘bore’, if handled right, can unleash many new insights and possibilities.

What I have discovered is that boredom really is an exciting time. If you really lean into it, it can become an opportunity. You can take a risk and make a change, or you can change your attitude. I never like when people suggest I just change my attitude because if it was that easy boredom would never actually be a THING. So, I choose to take a risk and change.

Everyone will approach boredom/burnout differently as we are unique in our personalities and our approach to challenges. Whether you have an analytical type mind and get really excited about numbers and graphs and projections, or you are more of the type who like to go with the flow and get distracted easily, we can all hit that wall of lane swimming blah, or in the case of open water swimming, that feeling of ‘on the road to nowhere’.

How do we move past this? How do we inject some renewed excitement into our swimming?

We can try one or two of the following suggestions:

- Pick a challenge event/race to train for

- Just train for fun

- Add technical focus

- Remove technical focus

- Change scenery

- Join a swim group/swim with a friend

- Get a new swim suit

- Get some new gadgets

- Don’t use your gadgets

As you can see what moves one person into a new and exciting realm will be different from person to person. What is common, however, is change. Change is a beautiful thing and can unleash so much more than we could ever imagine from our steady state or ‘comfort zone’. We don’t grow by keeping things safe, we grow by meeting our challenges.

Change can also be scary and unsettling. It means getting out of your comfort zone, stepping into something that is not familiar or perhaps something you may even fail at. It can take you into a place of unknown that you just don’t have the control that you are used to. Getting past this fear and seeing the opportunities on the other side can open you up to improving on your swim goals and adapting in ways you may not have considered.

Change can create a platform for positive and creative thinking (i.e. how can I do this set differently so it doesn’t feel so mundane?) Mix up your pattern and don’t be afraid to take that side route from your intended path. Even if you are focusing on a particular event, or time achievement, veering off your path once in a while doesn’t have to be harmful to training goals. In fact it can add perspective, which is something that so often gets lost when we are tunnel vision focused.

How we respond to boredom is our choice. When boredom speaks to you pay attention and observe (what do you feel, what are you thinking, what needs to change). Embracing this very real part of swim training can help you to move past it. The discoveries on the other side of boredom are the gifts of a renewed enthusiasm.

If all of this is just more than you feel like thinking about, here are a few photos that will remind you of why swimming is so fabulous:

Penny Mullan - Swim Smooth Coach In Training

Swim Smooth!

Suffering From Swimming Withdrawal Symptoms? Swim Smooth Has You Covered!

For many of you swimming enthusiasts across the world, not being able to access your local swimming pools and leisure centres is a real dilemma. As fellow lovers of swimming, at Swim Smooth we also feel your pain and are experiencing a multitude of withdrawal symptoms!

We've been working hard with our Certified Coaches to offer you an array of free resources and content to make sure you are getting your swimming fix. They're a talented bunch and have a lot to share with you!

Here's four things we have for you now (and coming in the pipeline) to keep your head in the swimming game:

1.  Workout Of The Day in our Swim Smooth Guru

Paul has been working hard to put together a series of land-based workout videos that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home. They will work on different aspects of your stroke technique to keep you swim fit until you are able to return to the pool. These can located from on the dashboard of the Swim Smooth Guru (see image below). We'd love to see pictures of your guys doing these workouts, so be sure to put them on Instagram and Facebook and tag us in them!

2. Online Video Analysis

To make sure you are still focussing on your technique during your time out of the pool, we are now offering our world-renowned 1-2-1 video analysis online. To kickstart this service, we have an amazing introductory offer of 50% off the original price, so head here to make sure you don't miss out!

If you can still swim and take some new footage that's great but if not you might have some existing video stored on your phone or camera to send us. Ideally this would be above and below the water but our coaches can often provide a lot of assistance from above the water only.

Our 1-2-1 Video Analysis now available online!

3. Team Swim Smooth YouTube Account

Our Certified Coaches have been hard at work producing video content and sessions for you to complete at home. You can easily find all of these at home sessions on our BRAND NEW YouTube channel: TEAM SWIM SMOOTH! Be sure to subscribe to the channel to keep up to date with all the new content that is available. 

Check out our first video by Swim Smooth Coach/Pilates Instructor Anne-Marie Munk based in Hong Kong: 

4. Our Coaches Instagram Takeover Continues!

Every week we are giving you the chance to meet one of our 50 amazing Swim Smooth Certified Coaches on our Instagram stories. This week it was the legendary Anna-Karin Lundin's turn to takeover and she did a fantastic job giving us a brilliant behind the scenes look into her day on the pool deck in Gothenburg, Sweden. If you missed it, you can catch up on all the antics by following this link here or heading to the highlights on our Instagram home page:

Anna-Karin's Instagram Takeover
We hope all of these things can keep you entertained during the lockdown!

Stay safe and well,

Swim Smooth!

The Swim Smooth Coaches Are Taking Over Instagram!

Swim Smooth's proudest achievement so far is the network of coaches that we have created over the past 10 years! We have over 50 coaches in more than 15 countries around the world sharing our coaching methodology and delivering Perth style squad sessions to their local swimmers. All our coaches have been hand-selected by our Head Coaches Paul Newsome and Adam Young and given high quality, extensive training and mentoring to develop and hone their swim coaching skills.

We know they are awesome but we want to share their awesomeness with you too! Each week a different Swim Smooth certified coach will be taking over our Instagram and Facebook stories for the day. They will be giving you an insider scoop into what life is like as a Swim Smooth coach. Be sure not to miss their expert coaching tips, advice on staying active during a lockdown and gossip about what Paul Newsome is really like!

This week we had our first takeover from Swim Smooth Louisville's Head Coach, Mike Jotautas (@coach_mike_jotautas). Based in Louisville, Kentucky, he attended the SS Certified Coaches Course in Perth in 2017 and has since set up Swim Smooth Louisville with over 150 swimmers in his squad sessions every week. If you haven't had a chance to see his takeover on instagram and facebook already, check it out by looking at the highlights reel on our instagram page or using this link:

Next Wednesday, SS Coach Anna-Karin (@simcoachen) will be taking over our instagram stories from Gothenburg, Sweden. Anna-Karin is not only a fantastic coach but also represented Sweden in the 1988 olympic games in Seoul, South Korea. So make sure you follow her on instagram and send us through any questions for Anna-Karin to answer next week.

If you can't wait until then, check out last year's podcast with Anna-Karin here:

Reply to this email to send us a question or comment below.

Swim Smooth!

Stay Supple And Mobile Ready For Your Swimming Comeback!

Firstly, we hope that you and your family are keeping safe and well in the current global Coronavirus outbreak. In these times of uncertainty across the world it is easy to get caught up in it all and spiral into panic. At Swim Smooth we want to offer you a more positive approach to the situation and provide you with a bit of relief from the current issues.

Let's get physical...!

For us swimming enthusiasts, the thought and reality of not being able to get into the pool to work on our swimming technique, swim fitness and let off some steam is unfathomable. At Swim Smooth we want to ease your pain slightly by introducing our BRAND NEW SERIES of FREE YouTube videos to keep you busy during your time in lockdown.

You can watch the first edition here:

These videos provide at-home alternatives to educate you, help you develop your stroke technique and maintain your fitness during the time that you are in lockdown. So get your gym gear on, search for your 80s sweatband and head to our YouTube account and join Swim Smooth's Head Coach, Paul Newsome!

Our first video takes you through a 10 minute light stretching and movement routine that you can do every day to maintain a normal routine whilst you are in self-isolation. We will regularly uploading videos to keep you on the ball during this time so be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Reply to this email or comment here if there are any topics that you want us to cover or any technique you would like to work on. 

Stay safe and well - and keep looking after your physical, mental and social wellbeing! 

Swim Smooth

A New Series Of SS Swim Videos To Help You Through The Coronavirus Pandemic

Swim Smooth is pleased to announce a brand new series of videos to help you through these uncertain times with the current coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

We've just released the first episode to Youtube:

How much swim-specific fitness can you expect to lose if your pool is closed by the coronavirus?

** Please subscribe to the Youtube Channel on that page to receive future episodes automatically!**

What should you do if your local pool closes and you can't swim?

In this first episode we'll address the harsh reality facing us all and that is how much swim-specific fitness we will each lose as a result of these closures. As of 15th March 2020, our pools here in Australia are still open, but many events of more than 500 people have been banned and it's probably only a matter of time before we follow-suit with the rest of the world.

But, rather than getting all "doom and gloom" we want to:

- Show you objectively what you can expect to lose, so that subjectively it is not such a psychological blow.

- Show you how to limit those losses at home.

- Show you how to put your time to good use with visualisations and practice-demos whilst in lock-down mode.

- Show you how to address specific weaknesses in your swimming and things like niggly shoulders and necks that you might have felt up until now you didn't have time or knowledge to address

- Show you how to prepare to build back up again towards your goals

We'll be back very soon with episode 2.

Swim Smooth!

What's In Your Swim Bag? 3 Essentials For Your Swim Bag!

As coaches, we have swimmers coming up to us all the time asking for advice on the best gear to improve their swimming. There are loads of different products out there and it can be difficult  to determine what products are worth investing in and have the biggest impact on your freestyle stroke. 

To help you with this decision, Shauqie Aziz, Swim Smooth Malaysia coach, has done all the hard graft for you and selected his top three swim bag essentials from a long list of products that he uses regularly with his Swim Smooth Squads 

Shauqie Aziz, Swim Smooth Malaysia

"I wrote this for my squad swimmers but it is worth reading for anyone training for triathlons/open water races. These are 3 essential swim gear we use in our squad.

In choosing swim gear, one must understand the functions and know their needs for those gear. Here are my recommendations for beginner to intermediate swimmers and why we use them.

1. Finis Long Floating Fins

This is the fins that suit adult swimmers the most. Our ankles tend to be stiff and with the help of long fins, it will stretch your ankles to point (plantar flexion) while you are swimming. Improving ankle flexibility is key to an efficient leg kick.

In addition, when performing catch and upper body/core drills, such as the 6/1/6broken arrow or advanced unco drill, these fins will give you the full support of a streamlined body position as your legs would be brought to a horizontal position with the fins.

When getting long fins, test the flexibility of the rubber, like the Finis ones. The harder, stiffer ones would hurt you more than help you.

Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpLJ1_rUY5k

Buy your own set of Finis Floating Fins here: https://shop.swimsmooth.com/products/finis-floating-fins?_pos=1&_sid=f40c42207&_ss=r

2. Paddles

There are two sets of paddles that you MUST have in your bag if you are looking to get closer to a perfect stroke.

2.1 Finis Freestyler Paddles

This is the best set of paddles to start with. It guides you to have the proper fingertips entry, hence improving your overall alignment. If you are swimming with a poor technique such as with a crossover or dropped elbow, these paddles will shift and displace due to its rudder feature, thus giving you instant correction for your next stroke.

Check out more about the Freestyler here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXca7tJshRA&t=8s

Buy your own Finis Freestyler Paddles here: https://shop.swimsmooth.com/products/finis-freestyler-paddles?_pos=1&_sid=cf5b38507&_ss=r

2.2 Finis Agility Paddles

Once your hand entry and alignment have improved, the Finis Agility Paddles are the next set of paddles for you. These paddles are designed to fit your palm perfectly, giving you the most natural and strongest catch feeling in the water. It will guide your arm to be vertical to pull and push the water behind effectively. Training with larger paddles on the other hand, risk injury to your shoulder if you train with poor technique. It is wiser to improve your strength through dryland exercises than through use of big paddles in the water.

Check out more about the Agility Paddles here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0DsGRyPzMo

Buy your own Finis Agility Paddles here: https://shop.swimsmooth.com/products/finis-agility-paddles?_pos=1&_sid=9479cb0de&_ss=r

3. Pull Buoy

Swimmers who struggle to keep their legs horizontal on the surface of the water will love this. You use the pull buoy to keep your body position horizontal and to power the speed from your upper body. At the same time, you can choose to put it between your thighs to develop your upper body strength, or to put it between the ankles to improve your core balance.

We also use this pull buoy as our kickboard during a kick set – giving resistance at the front and inducing a stronger kick from the rear which strengthens the kick.

Our swimmers generally love to pair the pull buoy with the agility paddles to give them the fastest swim speed ever! 

Buy your own pull buoy here: https://shop.swimsmooth.com/products/finis-adult-pull-buoy?_pos=3&_sid=8afac2b2a&_ss=r

Of course, there are many more swim gear out there such as snorkels, short fins, kickboards, etc. to enhance your swim technique. But to kick-off your swim, these 3 are ESSENTIAL. 

So what’s your favourite gear and why do you prefer it?"

Swim Smooth


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