Boosting The Bambino!

In part 2 of our 6 part series we take a look at the Bambino Swim Type and the characteristics of their stroke. If you recognise yourself as a Bambino, use the profile to understand what's holding you back in the water and move forwards using some great Swim Smooth coaching!

Swim Type Profile 2: The Bambino

The Bambino is relatively new to swimming and finds freestyle a real struggle, especially at first.

They lack confidence in the water and think of themselves as 'slow' or 'not very good' swimmers. But like any swimmer with the right approach they can improve both their competence and speed in the water.

The over-riding characteristic of their stroke is that it is quite slow and gentle:

If we compare that to a strong swimmer such as Kat below, you can really see the difference. Kat swims with a lot of rhythm and purpose to the stroke:

Bambinos respond badly to traditional swim coaching which asks swimmers to slow down their turnover to try to lengthen out the stroke. In most cases they don't have the strength or build to do this and become slower as a result and lose even more confidence.

Perhaps counter-intuitively for someone without a swimming background, the key to improving a Bambino's swimming is to focus on the rhythm of the stroke and developing more 'oomph'. You might think swimming with a faster rhythm would be harder but as long as you don't go too crazy, increasing rhythm and purpose actually makes things easier for Bambinos, not harder.

One of the best ways to achieve a higher stroke rate is to use a Tempo Trainer Pro in Stroke Rate mode. Try lifting your stroke rate by 3-5 strokes per minute (SPM), you will be amazed how much better it feels! This is the opposite approach we recommended for The Arnie last week, who we recommended dropping stroke rate by 3-5 SPM.

All smiles: Clare loving using a Tempo Trainer with Coach Lucy

Collapsing Arm Whilst Breathing

A classic fault which nearly all Bambinos have in their stroke is that when they go to breathe, their lead arm collapses downwards in the water underneath the body:

The arm should actually be out in front supporting them at this point in the stroke, as we see Jono Van Hazel doing here:

This collapse only happens on a breathing stroke, not on a normal stroke. It leaves you very unsupported at the front of the strokes such that the mouth starts to sink beneath the surface. For this reason many Bambinos have learned to over-rotate their head, twisting the neck to look up to the sky to try and find clear air:

This twisting action commonly leads to soreness in the muscles on the back of the neck.

Once we have stopped the lead arm collapsing you will feel greater support and we can work on keeping the head lower, using the bow-wave to breathe across the pool:

Quick Bambino Facts

Typical speed range: 9:00 to 16:00 for 400m. May have to stop each length to catch their breath.

Typical stroke rate: 45 to 55SPM

Likes: The support of a friendly coach.
Loves: The achievement of improving their swimming - even small steps forward give them a major lift.
Dislikes: Complicated drills or training sets.
Hates: May be very afraid of swimming in open water.

Learning Style: Bambinos like to know how something should be done and enjoy a bit of research away from the pool.

Classic professions: Graphic/Fashion Designer, Psychologist, Doctor, Scientist

Next Steps

Bambinos require an alternative approach to developing their swimming focusing on timing, rhythm and feel for the water - areas of the stroke technique that traditional swim coaching would only introduce with advanced swimmers. Don't worry - we make this very easy to follow!

At Swim Smooth we call this process 'Boosting The Bambino' and you can follow it by subscribing to the Swim Smooth Coaching System:

Or by using the Bambino Swim Type Guide download:

About Swim Types

The Swim Type system is a way of understanding how the faults in a swimmer's stroke tend to cluster together in classic ways.

It gives you insight into the 'nuts and bolts' making up any swimmer and a highly developed step-by-step stroke correction process for each type to follow.

We've made the Swim Type system memorable and easy to understand by using a little humour and some cartoon characters. But don't by fooled, the insight behind each type is the result of a huge amount of empirical study involved thousands of individual swimmers over the last 10 years:

Find out more about the system on our dedicated microsite:

Swim Smooth!

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