(don't miss the last minute of this clip showing Kate and Guy's swim strokes)
This is a great example of the importance of an individual approach to swim coaching. Many swimmers are told that they need to swim with a very long stroke to be efficient and whilst this suits someone with very long arms like Guy it does not suit swimmers with shorter arms such as Kate. If Kate tried imitating Guy's stroke style she would become a much slower, less efficient swimmer.
Here in Australia 40 strokes per 50m is commonly used as a 'benchmark of efficiency' and swimmers are told they must take 40 strokes per lap or less to swim well regardless of their individual make-up or experience level. Frankly, we find this a bit ridiculous and are working hard to change this attitude. The right strokes per 50m lap could be anywhere between 35 and 60 depending on your height, arm length and also the size of your hands.
If you have shorter arms than Guy then don't despair, it's perfectly possible for you to swim quickly and efficiently like Kate. You will find that a slightly shorter stroke with a faster stroke rate works best for you and you can do this without fighting the water.
If you are tall with long arms then a long stroke style can work well but don't over do it and be prepared to adapt your stroke depending on conditions. For instance, in open water Guy shortens his stroke and lifts his stroke rate to help him punch through chop and the wake from other swimmers. This is something that comes naturally to Kate with her faster stroke rate.
A big thanks to Kate and Guy for letting us share this with you, find out more about them on their websites:
Also see: our original post on Ape Index