The Arnie is the classic swimmer who tends to fight the water, with a large crossover in the stroke, low lying legs and often a scissor kick. These are normally athletic guys and girls with a background in other sports who try to use their strength to power through the water but unfortunately they work much more against the water than with it, wasting a lot of energy:
See the full Arnie profile here to see if it fits your swimming.
The Bambino may have some of those faults too but uses a much lower level of effort with the hands slipping gently through the water with very little traction. They may take on water when they breathe as the lead hand collapses downwards on a breathing stroke giving them no support whilst taking a breath:
See the full Bambino profile here to see if it fits your swimming.
If you are an Arnie, slowing down your stroke slightly is a good idea to give you the time to lengthen out on each stroke. Focusing on getting more control is critical to improve your swimming. This is the traditional approach to swim coaching at work which will serve Arnies well. Of course, once you've developed your technique, you can speed things up again to get further gains in speed.
However, the Bambino responds in a very different way. Slow your stroke down and you lose what little attachment on the water you have and so things get harder, not easier. With your swimming you actually need a little more stroke rhythm - or as we like to call it: OOMPH!
The next time you swim, try focusing on positive movements in your stroke and getting a good rhythm going. You can do this simply from feel or use a Tempo Trainer Pro to make small adjustments and get things just right. These little beepers sit underneath your swim cap and beep a rhythm to you, like a metronome but for swimming. You simply time your stroke to the beep. At the moment you probably take something in the region of 40 to 54 strokes per minute but we suggest you try lifting that initially by 3-6 strokes per minute up to around 50-60 strokes per minute:
For an Arnie lifting their stroke rate would definitely make things harder and less efficient but for Bambinos a greater rhythm actually makes things easier as you gain a better feel the water and traction with your arms stroke. We're not looking to turn you into a thrashing beast but a little more purpose and oomph is definitely a good thing for your stroke style.
Once you've tried this and got the feel of swimming with a greater sense of positivity, introduce the One-Two-Stretch Mantra we talked about here: www.feelforthewater.com/2012/05/two-quick-tips-if-you-struggle-with.html. You'll soon be on the way to faster and more efficient swimming!