Should You Embrace A Swimming Plateau?

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If you've been swimming for a while you've probably hit a plateau in your swimming performances at some point in time, in fact it's quite likely you're on one right now. You might have been swimming for weeks, months or even years without seeing any improvements in your swimming ability, which is a very frustrating place to be.

There's a common school of thought out there that says in this situation you should 'embrace the plateau' and enjoy it for what it is - as if doing so is in some way virtuous.

At Swim Smooth we fundamentally disagree with embracing plateaus because to do that you're believing either:

- You are already as good as swimmer as you can be (vanishingly unlikely).


- By repeating the same things for months on end, without improvement, that one day you're going to wake up and suddenly be a much better swimmer*.

Should you embrace a plateau? Here's our answer:

Getting Off A Plateau

Here's some questions to ask yourself to help break off a plateau:

- Do you ever practise your exhalation technique? If not, there's some free speed right there by improving it.

- Are you performing the right fitness training? Consider 'chasing speed' using a Finis Tempo Trainer Pro rather than waiting for it to happen using our The Swim Smooth guide to systematically improving your CSS pace.

- Are you thinking of yourself as an individual in regard to the type of technique work you are doing? As we mentioned on the blog last week, our Swim Types system is a great way to address this.

- Are you consistent with your training?

- If you race in open water, have you thought how a good open water stroke might differ?

- Do you practise your open water skills regularly? Your ability to swim straight, draft and punch effectively through disturbed water can all be practised in the pool during the winter and are arguably worth as much time saving as conventional technique work.

Practising open water skills in the pool is essential
to reach your potential as an open water swimmer or triathlete.

- What are your pacing skills like? Go off too fast every time you start a set (or start a swim within a set) and the quality of your training will be reduced. See here.

What Is Holding You Back?

As humans we get tied to our beliefs and habits but more often than not they are what ends up holding us back. Try making a few changes and introducing some fresh ideas to your swimming - you will be surprised at the results!

Swim Smooth!

* The definition of insanity? Keep doing what you've always done and expecting a different outcome.


Unknown said...

Guys, another informative chapter, thank you. finding your book helpful too.

Any recent advances on a swim smooth coach in Melbourne?


Mark Huntington

Anonymous said...

now I've got a special question: I like the little video in the middle of the post. I was wondering where I could find similar swim videos that could be used for "visualization".
often coverage from races doesn't work that well because the perspective switches all the time.

just re-read your post about (2 beat) kick and kick natural timing is totally screwed up: kicking left when pulling left!! so I tried to find videos with 2 beat kicks to help me get my timing straight


Unknown said...

Hi Anonymous,

You may not be aware but we now have a modernised version of Mr Smooth including Miss Swinger app available for iPads and iPhones here: or for Android devices here:

That will really help you on both fronts!

Anonymous said...

hi Annie,

thanks for your answer. I just redownloaded the windows console of mr. smooth but it doesn't contain miss swinger - is it just available on the app?
(I downgraded to oldschool phone ;-) )

anyway, if you know of any other footage showing a 2 beat kick and probably more of a swinger style let me know!!

thanks, Lukas

Unknown said...

Hi Anonymous,

Miss Swinger is available in our new version for IOS/Apple and Android devices, since the console pre-dates her! She's definitely worth checking out in future! Some clips of Smooths and Swingers in here for you to watch:

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