David Davies In Live Swinger vs Smooth Smackdown At Sandown Park

We're very excited to announce that Olympic Silver and Bronze Medallist David Davies will be Swim Smooth's special guest tomorrow (Saturday) at The Triathlon Show in Sandown Park!

Join Paul Newsome at 2pm in the Zoggs endless pool for the biggest Swinger vs. Smooth smackdown yet! We'll be comparing Dave's classic Swinger style with another famous name from British swimming who has a classically long Smooth freestyle stroke. Which stroke style is best and which should you use yourself? Find out live on Saturday!

Also join Dave and Paul Newsome at 11:30am in the 220 Theatre where they look at classic swim styles and how to improve each. The seminar will be packed with insight and tips to improve your own stroke technique.

You can see Swim Smooth's full schedule of other seminars and endless pool sessions at the show and the following weekend in Manchester here. Remember to bring your swim footage on a USB drive to our stand (next door to HUUB) and a full Swim Smooth coach will analyse your stroke for you. :)

Swinger vs. Smooth

At the core of Swim Smooth's coaching philosophy is our recognition of two 'ideal' swim strokes, the Swinger and the Smooth. This is quite a step away from convention as swimming coaches have traditionally only recognised the Smooth as worthy of emulation but that disregards amazing swimmers such as David Davies, Laure Manadou, Shelley Taylor Smith and the Brownlee brothers:

Jono Van Hazel is a classic Smooth

Mel Benson is a classic Swinger
Each stroke style is equally valid and has strengths and weaknesses to it. One will naturally suit you more than the other, identify which works best for you and your swimming will really start to click!

Find out more at: www.swimtypes.com

Swim Smooth!

Should You Be Using A Two Beat Kick?

Traditional swim coaching taught everyone to swim with a flutter kick:

The legs are kept nearly straight with only a subtle bending of the knee and pointed toes behind the swimmer. Technically this is called a '6 Beat Kick' because for a full arm cycle you kick six times. This isn't something you have to think about too much, if you focus on a light flutter kick then the timing will naturally fall into place.

Great swimmers such as Natalie Coughlin, Ian Thorpe and Michael Phelps use this style to great effect.

You might have heard of a much slower style of kicking called a two beat kick:

For a full arm cycle, the swimmer kicks twice. When performed well, it's like a switch-kick moving between the two positions.

The advantage of this kicking style is that it uses less energy and so can be more energy efficient over longer distances. Elite swimmers such as Laure Manadou, David Davies and Shelley Taylor Smith won many gold medals using this technique. It's used in pool events but is especially common in elite open water swimming and triathlon.

Which Style Is Best?

So which should you use when you swim? To make the two beat kick style work effectively you need all these elements in place in your stroke:

- You need a good catch technique pressing the water backwards effectively at all times.

- You need an absence of a pause and glide in your arm stroke timing.

- You need good rhythm to the stroke moving continuously from one stroke to the next.

- You need a developed kicking technique, kicking from the hip with very little knee bend.

- You need a reasonable level of natural buoyancy.

Having all those elements in place in your stroke is going to mean you are already a pretty decent swimmer and if you swim in a squad you will swim in the faster lanes.

If you don't have all of those elements in place then a two beat kick won't work well for you at all, you're much better off with a light 6-beat flutter kick while you develop your stroke technique. This doesn't have to be very energy consuming if you kick with a small motion and light effort.

In the long run as you develop your stroke technique - and if it fits your natural style - you can start to work on a two beat kicking technique.

Kicking Style By Swim Type

If you're a classic leg-sinker like an Arnie or a Bambino then although a six beat kick takes a little more energy in itself, your body will be lifted higher and this will reduce drag and so reduce your effort level overall. For you a light six beat kick is the most efficient style as it helps lift your legs higher in the water.

Many swimmers try and combine a two beat kick with a pause-and-glide in the stroke (the classic Overglider) as they are looking to use as little energy as possible when they swim. Unfortunately this causes them to stall between strokes and sink down low in the water - this is a very inefficient way of swimming.

A common stroke artefact that develops with Overgliders using a two beat kick is the Overglider Kickstart (see here). The swimmer has to use a big knee bend to literally kick-start the stalled stroke, creating a huge amount of drag in the process:

Notice how this swimmer's body position is much lower
than the more efficient swimmers above.

Overgliders are best off using a six beat kick while they work on improving their catch and their rhythm and timing. If you migrate towards the Swingers style then a two beat kick could serve you well in the long run but most Overgliders have ambitions to be Smooths for which they should stay with a six beat kick.

The Kicktastic is a swimmer who likes using a powerful 6-beat kick. For yourself developing your swimming is about taming the power of the kick whilst developing your catch and pull. We'd recommend keeping the 6 beat style but moderate the effort levels to improve your efficiency.

The elite swimmers who use a two beat kick are those with a shorter stroke but a faster turnover - Swingers. The continuous nature of the Swinger style, moving continuously from one stroke to the next, means they don't need a flutter kick to keep their momentum going. The two beat kick simply helps drive their body rotation which in turn drives the arm stroke.

Not all Swingers use a two beat kick but it naturally complements their style and allows them to turn their arms over quickly without having to kick extremely rapidly to keep up with the pace of the arms.

That leaves the Smooths - the swimmers who use that long smooth stroke style to devastating effect. The six beat flutter kick suits their style and falls in naturally with the longer stroke timing. Sometimes when cruising at steady pace (for them!) the kick will drop in and out but when at full racing speed, the kick becomes continuous and powerful to lift them high at the rear.


Swim Smooth's coaching philosophy is to only think about developing a two beat kick if you are quite an advanced swimmer starting to develop a refined Swinger style of stroke. If you are still working on the basics of your stroke technique such as breathing, alignment, body position and catch setup then you are going to be much better served using a light 6-beat kick. And if you tend towards the Smooth type, then 6-beat is going to be the best style for you in the long term too.

Swim Smooth!

Swim Smooth Seminars & Live Video Analysis In London & Manchester

Swim Smooth are touching down in a couple of weeks time for The Triathlon Show (Sandown Park, London) and then The Manchester Bike & Tri Show two weeks later. Come to the shows to meet the Swim Smooth team and talk about your swimming with us!

SS Head Coach (and Manhattan Island Marathon Swim winner) Paul Newsome is flying in from Australia to deliver some special Swim Smooth seminars for you and live stroke correction sessions to learn from in the endless pool at the Zoggs Swim Zone:

Paul working with Double Commonwealth Gold Medallist Ross Davenport.
Ross will be visiting the Swim Smooth stand during both shows!

Paul's two seminars will be:

Seminar 1: Swim Types Before & After - Learn how to easily and successfully correct your stroke.

Seminar 2:  Building your "Diesel Engine" for faster, more efficient endurance swimming.

Make sure you bring your video clips of your swimming to our stand (we're next door to HUUB wetsuits) and we'll give you an analysis of your stroke to take away! You'd be amazed what we can show you about your stroke and how to improve, even with some clips from your smartphone:

Also meet the rest of the UK coaching team, including our certified coaches from all regions of the UK:

Of course, we'll also have all our DVDs, Training Plans, Swim Smooth book and Finis goodies for you to check out on the stand. And hopefully a brand new Swim Smooth product to launch that we're putting the very finishing touches to right now!

Last but not least, Paul's also compering the headline Q&A with 6-time Hawaii Ironman winner Dave Scott at the London show. Here's a clip of when the two were last together in Boulder Colorado talking swimming technique:

If you can't get to the show then simply reply to this email or tweet Paul your question for Dave and he will pick the best ones to ask Dave at the show. Your question could be about anything at all swim, bike, run, nutrition, race skills or motivation related - the more original the better! :)

Here's the full timetable of events at both shows:

The Triathlon Show, Sandown Park London: www.triathlonshow.co.uk

Fri 28th Feb: 4:45-5:45pm Dave Scott Q&A
Fri 28th Feb: 5:30-6:30pm Swim Smooth Endless Pool Stroke Demonstrations / Corrections
Sat 1st March: 11:30am-12:30pm Paul Newsome Swim Smooth Seminar 1 (Swim Types)
Sat 1st March: 12:45-1:45pm Dave Scott Q&A
Sat 1st March: 2-3pm Swim Smooth Zoggs Endless Pool Stroke Demonstrations / Corrections
Sun 2nd March: 11:30am-12:30pm Paul Newsome Swim Smooth Seminar 2 (Diesel Engine)
Sun 2nd March: 1:30-2:30pm Swim Smooth Zoggs Endless Pool Stroke Demonstrations / Corrections

The Bike & Triathlon Show, Manchester: www.bikeandtri.co.uk

Sat 8th March: 11:15am-12:00pm Paul Newsome Swim Smooth Seminar 1 (Swim Types)
Sat 8th March: 2-3pm Swim Smooth Zoggs Endless Pool Stroke Demonstrations / Corrections
Sun 9th March: 12:30-1:30pm Swim Smooth Zoggs Endless Pool Stroke Demonstrations / Corrections
Sun 9th March: 3:15pm-4:00pm Paul Newsome Swim Smooth Seminar 2 (Diesel Engine)

Look forward to meeting you there!

Swim Smooth!

Video Analysis: Curing The Overglider

One of our most popular blog posts ever was our recorded video analysis of Triathlon World Champ Non Stanford's stroke. Today we're going to share with you another of Paul Newsome's sessions with a very different swimmer - someone called Phil who had tried to make their stroke as long as possible by adding a pause-and-glide into their stroke timing. Paul takes up the story:

Hi guys, I recorded this session with Phil in May 2013, it's a great session to watch for anyone who's added a pause and glide into their stroke timing (and any coaches trying to work with Overgliders): 

When I filmed Phil he was swimming at 32 strokes per 50m length at a painfully slow 36 SPM, taking around 1:49 /100m. I recently re-filmed him (7 months later) and Phil is now down to 1:35 /100m and his stroke rate is up to 51 SPM, taking 40 strokes per 50m length.

The question is, which is more efficient? Taking 8 strokes less or swimming 14 seconds per 100m faster? That equates to an improvement of 3:30 over 1500m or 23 minutes over the 20km Rottnest Channel swim he'll be undertaking in two weeks time.

You'll see in the clip how increasing his tempo and sacrificing a little stroke length is a product of a better hand entry and removing the over-glide from the front of his stroke. There's no super-science or magic to this process, it's just understanding that too much emphasis on stroke length can seriously damage your efficiency in the water.

The results of this session have been great for Phil, just a few weeks ago he swam 5km in open water in 1 hour 22 minutes, an average pace of 1:38 /100m - that's 11 seconds per 100m quicker than he's swimming in this video over 200m and yet its 25x further. Much more efficient swimming!

If you've added a pause-and-glide into your stroke, work on removing the dead-spot in your timing, don't over-glide and your rhythm will improve naturally, not because you are focusing on turning the arms over faster. This is truly how to cure the Overglider within you!

Enjoy the clip - Paul

If you would like an analysis like this on your own swimming then see one of our certified coaches - they'll take you through the exact same process and quickly have you swimming faster and more efficiently, whatever level you are currently at!

Swim Smooth!

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