How Your Body Type Affects Your Swim Stroke

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Back in the 1990s they said that everyone should swim the same way, how we should all aim to make our strokes as long as possible. How we should all try to match the stroke length of Olympic Champions.

These days we understand that making your stroke as long as possible actually isn’t efficient swimming - you need to find the right trade off between the length of the stroke and your stroke rate (cadence) for you as an individual. This is in fact what Olympic Champions do - although many have long strokes, they could go even longer if they wanted.

How long should your stroke end up being? The answer to that question varies hugely based on factors such as your height, arm length, size of your hands, physical strength and swim fitness:

The short video above shows a great example of two swimmers of very similar speed - Brad Smith and SS Head Coach Paul Newsome - both swimming very effectively but with very different stroke styles. Each swimmer has taken account of their own physical make-up to find a stroke that works for them.

You should be aiming to do the same, even if that means going against what was historically considered to be an 'ideal' stroke.

We haven’t discussed Ape-Index on the blog in a while but it is always worth a revisit. Find some more information on it here:

And some more examples in the Swim Smooth Coaching System here...

...featuring Neil, our current Ape-Index world record holder!

Swim Smooth!

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