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Stop. Thinking. Just. Start.

What's the single most common thing holding swimmers back? A crossover? Not enough rotation? Need higher elbows? Holding their breath underwater?

Actually we believe the most common thing is PROCRASTINATION.

Thinking about something without doing, putting it off until tomorrow, not giving something a go for fear of failing, over-analysing, watching every video on Youtube and reading every swimming article out there... but not actually swimming. All are forms of procrastination.

The simple fact is that becoming a good swimmer is a journey, it involves practise and training and experience and giving it a go. Yes it actually involves swimming!

Your first strokes might not be perfect (in fact we guarantee they won't be) but actually getting off the couch and taking the journey down to the pool is essential. The sooner you start, the sooner you get somewhere.

Of course one of the key ways you can overcome procrastination is to join a group of swimmers such as those run by our marvellous Swim Smooth coaches: These are super-friendly and suitable for a huge range of swimmers from those new to swimming through to experienced competitors:

Perth squad swimmers - find your local squad here

So before you get too heavily into the technical details of the sport, perhaps the single most important thing you can do to improve your swimming is to stop thinking and just start!

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Case Studies Part 2 - Kicktastics, Overgliders and Swingers

Here in the second of our two part Case Studies Series, we take a look at three more in depth examinations of swimmers of different stroke styles by our head Coach Paul Newsome.

In each 4-8 minute study, Paul takes a look at some classic Kicktastics, Overgliders and Swingers Swim Types, seeing how we developed and improved their swimming to take large strides forward. Recognise yourself and get some great pointers on how to improve your own speed in the water!

You can also see last week's post here where we examined Arnies, Bambinos and Smooths:

Let's go:

Classic Kicktastics

Can you guess it? Kicktastics tend to... errr... over kick! They are experienced competent swimmers who move quite well through the water but lack arm propulsion causing them to overly rely on their leg kick for forward movement.

Unfortunately kicking is a very inefficient source of propulsion, burning a lot of oxygen and energy. This means that Kicktastics commonly feel short of breath when they swim and move significantly slower through the water than they should.

Paul shows us some classic Kicktastics and the sort of drills and methods we use to improve their swimming:

If you recognise yourself as a bit of a Kicktastic and want to improve your stroke then follow our full Kicktastic stroke correction process with a Guru PRO subscription here:

It's called "Inspiring The Kicktastic"!

The Classic Overglider

Overgliders have been swimming for a while and are typically adult leaners. They like a mindful academic approach to learning and have typically read all the books on swimming and studied hundreds of Youtube videos before spending much (or any!) time in the water.

The significant thing Overgliders have worked on is maximising their distance-per-stroke and unfortunately they have taken this concept a little too far, overly lengthening and introducing several stroke flaws as a result.

Paul shows us more:

Have you gone down the path of Overgliding within your own stroke? Use our step-by-step process to improve your swimming in the Guru, we call it "Curing The Overglider" :

In no time at all it will transform your efficiency and you will quickly notice the increase in speed and effectiveness of your swimming.


Nothing to do with putting their car keys in a pot (!) Swingers are so named because they naturally use a straighter swinging arm recovery over the top of the water. They are fast and competent swimmers who enjoy their time in the water and swim with a faster stroke rate, making them naturally suited to open water swimming.

Fundamentally their stroke style is very effective but small stroke flaws can slip in which can hold them back. There can also be a tendency to "over-rev" and hurry the catch a little too much.

Paul takes up the story:

Naturally swing when you swim? Check out our easy to use stroke correction process, available with a PRO Guru subscription:

You can find out further information and diagnose your own Swim Type on our dedicated micro-site here:

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More Before & After Case Studies! Arnies, Bambinos and Smooths

Thanks for all your replies, comments, posts and tweets about last week's before-and-after videos of swimmers coached by SS coaches. According to the blog stats is was our most read blog this year with over 250,000 opens!

So popular was the post that we thought we would share with you some more in depth before-and-after case studies by our Head Coach Paul Newsome. Each is around 5-7 minutes long and examines a classic swimmer of each Swim Type.

Recognise yourself and start working on the things that Paul discusses in each clip - enjoy! :

Charles - The Classic Arnie

Arnies are naturally athletic people and tend to have a strong build with plenty of strength and power. For that reason they often come from a team sport background (e.g. rugby, football) or from an environment where they can use that strength - e.g. weight lifting.

Confident with land based sports they tend to struggle much more with swimming - all that lean muscle mass causes a low body position and a lack of flexibility introduces stroke faults such as crossovers.

So are Arnies a lost cause when it comes to swimming? Anything but! With their natural athleticism they stand to improve more than any other Swim Type if they can address what is (individually) holding them back.

Watch Paul review Charles' progress in the water:

Want to improve your swimming and make those big gains like Charles? Follow our full Arnie stroke correction process with a Guru PRO subscription here:

It's called "Taming the Arnie" - let's go!

Mel - The Classic Bambino

At first sight Bambinos can look like Arnies with their low lying legs and their tendency to lift the head clear of the water to breathe. However they are a very different type of swimmer.

Normally without a significant sporting background (although we do quite often meet Bambinos with running backgrounds) the fundamental problem with their stroke is a lack of feel for the water and poor timing.

Find out more as we watch Paul assess Mel's improvements in her before-and-after analysis:

Want to improve your own swimming like Mel? Follow our full easy-to-follow Bambino stroke correction process with a Guru PRO subscription here:

We call it "Boosting The Bambino" - does your swimming need a boost?

The Classic Smooth

EVERYBODY wants to be Smooth like Ian Thorpe or Michael Phelps but what is it really like? Are their strokes really perfect with nothing to work on?

Actually although Smooths can look perfect at first sight there are several common flaws that creep into their strokes over time. They may also need to make a few minor tweaks here and there to reach their potential in open water.

Paul shows us when, how and why:

Are you a Smooth yourself? Let's tune-up those aspects of your own swimming get you pumped up and enjoying your swimming again with our full "Motivated The Smooth" process in the PRO Guru:

On the blog next Friday we'll look at some more examples of the remaining three Swim Types - Kicktastic, Overglider and Swinger.

You can find out further information and diagnose your own Swim Type on our dedicated micro-site here:

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Before And After Videos - Swim Smooth Stroke Correction In Action

Shauqie On the blog this week we're featuring four "before and after" videos of swimmers from our Swim Smooth coaches around the world. Check them out below - do you recognise yourself in any of them?

Some of the stroke corrections are truly transformative to the overall stroke, whilst others are smaller tweaks bringing important gains. Like any swimmer, their stroke technique isn't yet "perfect" or "finished" but the common theme in all the changes is moving forwards with measurable improvements to their stroke mechanics and performance.

Each of these changes was achieved following one-to-one Swim Smooth Video Analysis and Stroke Correction, an incredibly powerful way to improve your swimming. Find you local Swim Smooth Coach here and ask them about booking in for a session yourself:

Swimmer Goh - SS Coach Shauqie Aziz - Swim Smooth Kuala  Lumpur

Goh before (top) and after (bottom)

Shauqie: As you can see above, in the original footage of Goh (top) taken back in 2016 he was barely able to swim 100m, his stroke containing a dominant stop-start action. Over the last two years we have worked on several key drill sequences to improve his stroke. The most significant one has been to remove the deadspot at the front of the stroke where the two hands meet (or "catch up") at the front and there is a lack of continuous propulsion. This is like driving in gear 1 or 2 and never being able to go to gear 3 or 4. To correct this we worked on a drill sequence including Doggy Paddle and Unco drill to have continuous propulsion. Over time we also used a Tempo Trainer Pro to work on his stroke rhythm, which has now lifted from 44 Strokes Per Minute to 64. The result is that Goh is now swimming very effectively with a CSS pace around 1:56/100m.

Goh: I am very fortunate to have met Coach Shauqie on my swimming journey, compared to those typical swim coach who only yelled at their student (which I saw at some pool). Shauqie is a very passionate coach where he would explain the reason behind every drill, how all the mistakes you made slow you down. Being an engineer, I really enjoy how he fed me this information and I learnt a lot regarding stroke correction from him over the past 2 years.

Head position, split view, imaginary rope, bend elbow and body rotation - these are the things I keep telling myself during every swim sessions. I studied all the video from Swim Smooth Guru, I could watch those elites swim video over and over and over again.

Eagerness to improve and a good coach is all you need, yesterday has already passed, but if you start today, you will reach there 1 day earlier than if you start tomorrow!

Find out more about Coach Shauqie and his coaching in Kuala Lumpur here:

Swimmer Simon - SS Coach Merle Talviste - Swim Smooth Singapore

Simon before (top) and after (bottom)

Merle - I met Simon in January 2017 when he was looking how to get faster in his iron distance triathlon racing. Simon had been swimming around 10 years always swimming 'mid pack' compared to his great cycling and running, around 65min per for a non wetsuit 3.8km swim.

From the video analysis session we identified several key areas that needed focus common with Smooths who have gone towards lengthening their stroke too much:

- Bilateral breathing and the benefits for his rotation, improving open water swimming adaption

- Fine tuning body alignment and hand entry, with focus his on turned out hands after 'spearing in’ that impacted the early catch set up.

- Removing the long glide at the front of his stroke that was making his tall body sink, which encouraged kickstart leg kick and straight arm pull through. The emphasis was on feel of the water, effective catch on the front and good rhythm for the stroke.

In addition to the technique work identified in the video analysis, we got him started on a CSS based training program to improve his swim endurance and pacing skills. We started off with the pace around 1:40 /100m and managed to get that down to 1.28 /100m within 4 months.

What a great dedicated athlete to work with!

Find out more about Coach Merle and her coaching in Singapore at:

Swimmer Mark - SS Coach Seamus Bennett - Swim Smooth Suffolk, UK

Mark before (left) and after (right)

Seamus: Mark is a top cyclist and very decent runner with, previously, no love or feel for swimming - it was always the part he just ‘had to go through’ in triathlon. After video analysis with me in May and October 2017, and now over a year in the squad, it’s true to say that Mark loves his swimming and with his CSS times falling from 1:50+ /100m to below 1:40, he’s now one of the first out of the water (and one of the most often seen swimming in the sea this summer for the sheer enjoyment!)

The most visible and significant thing we sorted in Mark’s stroke was getting rid of his dropped-elbow overglide. In the ‘before’ footage the fingers of his right hand reach so far upward that they actually break the surface as we see his palm facing forwards, stalling him and holding him back. 

Unsurprisingly he also had a serious scissor kick at the stage. In the ‘after’ clip, notice how Mark is much quicker into his catch, with the elbow staying higher. His scissor kick has reduced and his speed has improved by around 7 seconds /100m. To make Mark into a much more effective swimmer, especially for open water, he has worked hard on Scull #1 and Doggy Paddle drills, as well as a number of side-kicking drills with fins, which have had the double effect of reducing his crossover and scissor kick, and training his lead arm not to drop the elbow.

Find out more about Coach Seamus and his coaching in Suffolk at:

Swimmer Jill - SS Coach Morgan Williams - Swim Smooth Yorkshire, UK

Morgan: I met Jill for the first time on Tuesday, yep that’s 31st of July 2018. She explained she has been participating in triathlons and is largely self taught on the freestyle stroke from what she had read and viewed online. Her big aim was that she wanted to “feel like a swimmer” and feel that she could improve. I certainly got the impression during our pre-video Analysis chat that she wasn't convinced she could. 

As you’ll see from the shot on the left Jill was just breathing to her right and over rotating whilst doing so which also led to a very noticeable scissor kick. Her left arm was recovering very low across the water due to very little rotation to the left. This meant her entry was very efficient and resulted in he left arm collapsing away with very little traction or control. That said as someone who was largely self taught I was impressed that Jill had got herself to a point where she could comfortably cover her race distance. 

So it was time for a tune up! Jill was quick to point out that she lacked flexibility in her shoulders so the first step was to adjust the hand entry and set up at the front of her stroke to allow for this. This immediately freed things up for Jill and she started to tell more relaxed and in control. The next step was to tune up Jill’s catch and pull to deliver more traction and propulsion in the early phase of her stroke. Using a combination of drills from the Swim Smooth toolbox she very quickly saw the return. This combined with my favourite visualisation of “climbing an imaginary ladder” (yes we do psychology in our coaching too) Jill made a significant improvement in just 90 minutes, So much so I grabbed my iPhone and grabbed the footage on the right! 

The day after Jill emailed some very positive feedback! 

Hi Morgan, I really enjoyed the session yesterday and went swimming today to try and make sure I was remembering what to do whilst it was fresh in my mind. I was pretty chuffed as my times were around 2 seconds a length faster but I seemed to be finding it easier too! I think being able to take a copy of the lesson home was really good, and for me, seeing that I actually was starting to look like a swimmer rather than a lopsided jelly fish was really helpful and has made me actually believe that I can improve. Thanks lots. Jill

Find our more about Morgan and his coaching in Yorkshire at:

Swimmer "Mega" Megan - SS Head Coach Paul Newsome - Swim Smooth Perth, Australia

And last but not least, don't miss our classic before and after of "Mega" Megan published on the blog here in 2014:

Megan has made HUGE improvements to her swimming speed, taking over 40 seconds per 100m off her CSS pace!

Meet Megan - she looks innocent enough doesn't she?

As we said at the time: Megan has developed a great little stroke packed with punch and rhythm. She's developed a good feel for the water despite not having any swimming background. She's determined, she's persistent and she's swim fit. And the really scary thing (for our top lane) is that she's still improving!

Check out her before and after footage from the link above.

See Your Local Swim Smooth Coach

Looking for these sorts of improvements yourself? There are nearly 50 Swim Smooth Coaches spread around the world, all highly trained and ready to be unleashed on your swimming.

Find your local coach here and get in contact with them to book a 1to1 slot:

Super friendly and incredibly talented - book in for a session with your local SS coach today.

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