Like Being Plugged Into The Matrix Of Swim Coaching

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Swim Smooth's Swim Types system is a powerful way to look at your swimming.  What is holding me back in the water and what's the optimum way for me to improve step by step? Answering those two questions for you as an individual is what Swim Smooth's Swim Type system is all about.

At the heart of the system lie six classic ways in which people swim freestyle, ranging from complete beginner to Olympic champion. We’ve given each a memorable name:

The Arnie - new to swimming, naturally strong but has a strong tendency to fight the water
The Bambino - new to swimming, anxious in the water with very poor feel for the water
The Kicktastic - normally swum as a child but overly reliant on propulsion from the kick
The Overglider - adult learner who takes a cerebral approach to improving their efficiency
The Swinger - experienced swimmer with a punchy stroke and lots of motivation
The Smooth - much admired experienced swimmer with classic long smooth stroke that traditional swim coaching aspires to

Identify your type from the Swim Type profiles (in detail here) and we can give you step by step instructions on how to improve your swimming - that REALLY WORKS.

Should we really all swim the same way?

A Coaching Perspective

After attending our recent Coach Education Course in Florida, here’s what coach Mike Jotautas (Kentucky) had to say:

Y'all, I'm still trying to absorb everything that I learned over 3 days... It's like I was plugged in to “The Matrix” of swim coaching - after merely “existing” as a swim coach. Having the opportunity to meet and associate with all of you was a pure privilege. It was spectacular to be around a group of people whom I felt were really speaking my language. Paul, Adam, and North America SS Coaches - you were like Morpheus and his team... I'm seeing everything in a new way, armed with the tools to become a better swim coach.

Mike was a great student over those 3 days but imagine how good he will become after being mentored by us for a full year, including 2 weeks intensive training at our home base in Perth, Australia. That level of insight and experience gives Swim Smooth certified coaches such an edge - letting them focus on a swimmer’s individual needs to take large strides forward.

Want some of this Swim Smooth magic applied to your own swimming? Find your nearest Certified Swim Smooth Coach here:

(And for more information on becoming a Certified Coach yourself, visit:

Our Year End Quiz - What Swim Type Says...?

One of the most fascinating things about Swim Types is that it also takes account of your personality. In fact with experience it is possible to determine pretty accurately how someone will swim without actually seeing them in the water - just by meeting them and tuning into how they think (scary huh!).

Without realising it you might already have some of that “Swim Type knowledge” building up from meeting other swimmers at your pool. So for a bit of fun, here’s a quick year end quiz to test your knowledge. Which Swim Type might say each of the following? :

1) “How can that fat person swim faster than me??!”

2) “Did I miss the warmup already?”

3) “No, no, after you!”

4) “Can I get in and get started now?”

5) “I’m not going to train until I’ve got my technique dialled in.”

6) “Yip”

7) “Oh god, pull buoy again”

8) “I can’t believe I just did that!”

9) “What’s the point in doing all these drills anyway?”

10) “”

You can scroll down and see our answers at the end of this post. How many did you get right, Neo?

Yes We’re Pigeon Holing A Bit

You might be sitting there thinking this is just stereotyping and of course to some extent it is. But because Swim Types takes account of your sporting background, gender, strength, height, build, swimming experience and personality it is a thousand times more effective than telling everyone to work on the same thing in the same way. That one-dimensional approach only worked for the lucky few while Swim Types works for the masses.

Want to plug in to the matrix? Take the red pill here:

Swim Smooth!

1) A classic Arnie thing to say showing their frustration at not taking to swimming as naturally as they do to other sports. Of course their stroke technique is holding them back and by working on the right things they can improve faster than any other Swim Type.

2) Ah, the classic Smooth is late for another session! Smooths tend to be very talented athletes but can lack motivation to get down the pool and often turn up late for sessions.

3) Even when they're quick enough to lead the lane Bambinos often lack the confidence to do so, perhaps worried they will hold others up.

4) Unlike the classic Smooth, the classic Swinger is bursting with motivation and is often at the pool early and looking to start squad sessions before time.

5) This is the stereotypical Overglider approach to swimming - an obsession with improving their efficiency by making their stroke longer. But what is long and what is overly-long?

6) You're unlikely to ever hear an Arnie waffle, in fact less is normally more when it comes to Arnie speech.

7) Kicktastics are slower with pull buoys, perhaps thinking they are not strong enough in the upper body to swim well with one. However swimming isn't limited by strength and the kicktastic lacks a good catch and pull through technique which we'll work to fix.

8) Always underestimating their swimming abilities, the classic Bambino gets a huge buzz when they find out what they really can do!

9) Swingers are motivated to train... but not to drill! They often rush through drill sets or skip them entirely.

10) Quiet and sometimes aloof, the classic Kicktastic is unlikely to make a lot of noise during a squad session.

Experiment With Rotating *Less* When You Breathe

The correct amount of rotation in the freestyle stroke is 45-60 degrees through the shoulders and hips:

Here's Brad, doing just that:


Unless you have been focusing heavily on rotation in your stroke (e.g. trying to “swim on your side like a fish”) it’s unlikely you’ll be rotating much more than 45 degrees, at least on a normal stroke.

However, breathing tends to drive more rotation into that stroke making it much more likely you’ll be over-rotating (to beyond 60 degrees) when breathing. Here's Brad again, rotating out to 75 degrees as he takes a breath:


The problem with rotating this far is that it causes you to lose balance such that the legs scissor apart, creating a lot of drag:


You can also see this scissoring action in the underwater shots above - when breathing (2) and to a lesser extent on a non-breathing stroke (1). Since Brad breathes predominantly to his right (more on this below) the scissoring habit is still in place on a non-breathing stroke, albeit to a lesser extent.

Over-rotating also harms your stroke rhythm and is likely to cause the arm to swoop across the centre line under your body which will have you snaking down the pool.

Try Rotating Less

So the next time you swim run a small experiment and focus on rotating slightly less than normal when you go to breathe. Become aware of what your shoulders and hips are doing on breathing and non-breathing strokes, and try and keep the amount of roll about the same.

Since rotating further takes longer you might notice your breathing stroke takes less time and that your stroke rhythm becomes more consistent on breathing and non-breathing strokes. That’s a sign
that over-rotation when breathing is an issue for you and is something to address in your stroke.

Unilateral Breathers

If you only ever breathe to one side when you swim (unilateral breathing) then over-rotation is even more likely to have developed in your stroke. If you feel the benefits from reducing your rotation when breathing then make introducing bilateral breathing every 3 strokes a priority to help balance out your stroke.

"Sneaky" Breathing

As we outlined in our previous blog post here, you may notice that rotating less far on a breathing stroke means you have less time to inhale. In fact you might only have time for a "sneaky" breath between strokes. That's how good breathing technique should feel: a long smooth exhalation into the water and then a sneaky breath in.


Here’s wishing you a very Smooth Christmas from everyone at Swim Smooth. Enjoy a well deserved break over the holiday season, don't eat too much Christmas pudding and come back refreshed in 2017!

Swim Smooth!

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