Friday, October 31, 2014

Swim Types: Understanding The Opposite Sex

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We released the Swim Types system in 2010 and the gender of the original cartoons was chosen because of a bias towards that sex within each type. For instance there are more female Bambinos than male in the world so we chose a female cartoon. However, there are many of the opposite gender swimmers out there who might have felt a bit left out... until now.

We have created new 'opposite-sex' cartoons for each of the Swim Types, we hope you like them:
(click image to expand)

Although fundamentally you're the same type of swimmer with the same characteristics, sometimes the less common gender can look subtly different both on the pool-deck and when swimming...

So with that in mind here's our quick guide to each of the 'opposite sexes':


The Arnette

The male Arnie is normally quite easy to spot with plenty of fast-twitch lean muscle mass, however the rarer female version (we call them Arnettes) is perhaps less obvious. Arnettes still tend to have an athletic build but are more feminine and perhaps less overtly muscular.
Arnettes are normally just as frustrated with swimming as their male counterparts and also have that tendency to try and muscle or fight the water. They too have that poor body position with low lying legs but they might sit higher in the water due to a lower muscle mass than their male counterpart.

The Male Bambino

Most male Bambinos have a light build and are possibly quite narrow across the shoulders. Whilst Bambinos generally don't have a sporting background, we have found quite a few male Bambinos have a strong running background.
As with their female counterparts, male Bambinos need to work on their stroke timing - improving the lead arm collapsing when they go to breathe (see here). Improving coordination is the name of the game and not being afraid to work hard and put a little 'oomph' into the stroke.

Developing the fitness side of swimming is particularly important for Bambinos as they tend to come into swimming at quite a low level of swim fitness. It's a common trap for male Bambinos to shy away from hard work, which they really need to take big strides forwards.

The Male Kicktastic

Kicktastics have nearly always swum as a child and male Kicktastics are no exception! Much less common than the female version, male Kicktastics may be less obvious than the girls as being that bit taller their kicking rhythm can be slower. To see the power and energy going into their kick we often need to get an underwater view with video analysis.
You might have noticed the new cartoon has tattoos and a hemp bracelet! Kicktastics seem to be quite spiritual earthy people and both sexes often sport small tattoos, particularly on the lower leg and feet (that might sound unbelievable but we see it time and time again!).

Both male and female kicktastics are quite 'reflective learners' meaning they like to think about introducing changes to their stroke rather than crashing forwards like a bull in a china shop. For this reason we've found many Kicktastics like taking notes during video analysis sessions so they can reflect back on things later.

The Female Overglider

Perhaps the most rare of all the opposite-sex Swim Types. Like their male counterparts, most female Overgliders have a background in an analytical or technical profession like science, engineering or computing.
Male Overgliders can carry an air of scepticism with them and have a bit of a habit of frowning when being coached. However as you'd expect from the fairer sex, female Overgliders have better 'soft skills' and may be more willing to compromise and give things a try without a mandatory full intellectual assessment first!

As with male Overgliders, the key to developing their strokes is to tune up their catch mechanics to allow them to swim with greater rhythm and purpose.

The Male Swinger


Just as plentiful as the female version, male Swingers love swimming and tend to be the life and soul of masters swim squads. Normally with a swimming background, male Swingers enjoy getting on with the hard yards and pushing through long sets but may rush through technique work without consideration for what they are doing.
Of course, you won't have missed the new bright bathers worn by our cartoons - Swingers just love them, perhaps a reflection of their uninhibited go-getting personalities!

The Female Smooth

One of the most common Swim Type questions we receive is what does a female smooth look like? The answer is often pretty glamorous:
Normally tall with great posture, female Smooths pay attention to their appearance and hold themselves well at all times.

As you'd expect they are technically brilliant in the water and just as smooth as their male counterparts but since they are not quite as tall or broad, they may not appear quite as long in their stroke.

Stereotyping?

Isn't Swim Types actually stereotyping swimmers? Well yes it is and we would never deny that but sometimes stereotyping can be really valuable!

The beauty of the system is that rather than giving generic one-size-fits-all advice, we can help you understand what is holding you back in the water as an individual - which varies hugely from person to person. If you've tried to improve your swimming but not made as much progress as you'd like then it's likely the advice you were following was the wrong thing for you.

Not only that but if you are a classic of your type then you are likely to have some personality traits which we can point out which also might be holding your swimming development back and remedies to overcome them.

Improving Your Swimming Using Swim Types

You can find out more about the Swim Types system and using it to develop your swimming at www.swimtypes.com


For each Swim Type we've written a tailored Stroke Development Guide for you to follow containing our highly developed step-by-step process for developing your swimming:



Each guide contains all the drills, visualisations and processes you need to take big strides forwards with your individual swimming - highly recommended!

Swim Smooth!

6 comments:

Jonas said...

Very interesting post from Swim Smooth. And congratulations to the cartoonist, good job:-)

From all the types, the one I haven't seen yet in a swimming pool is the female overglider. I think women tend to have naturally a higher stroke rate than men. I saw that this last summer in the European olympics in the mixed (men and women) competitions.

Syb CE said...

Absolutely great :) The cartoons with descriptions. I always suspected my partner to be an overglider... and he's an engineer too. Myself I would like to consider a 'smooth' - but obviously there is still a looong way to get there. With your fantastic inputs I might succeed.

bonbon said...

I love this!!! If you guys made a poster of these M/F swim types I'd buy it :)

Annie Oberlin-Harris said...

Hi Jonas- you're right they are less common but look out for the hand resurfacing and putting the brakes on- undeniable sometimes!

Syb CE- Lol, yes you'll get there!

Bonbon- Thanks for the good idea! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Love it! I am a male swinger myself, and that guy looks like me! As far as female swingers are concerned, we have plenty at my home pool in Baltimore. They are generally triathletes with an engineering/teaching background.

Annie Oberlin-Harris said...

Thanks Anonymous- definitely with you on the teachers and Swingers note!