Short, Simple Sessions To Get Your Swimming Back On Track

For many people, we are starting to get a glimpse of normal life in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. From the regular contact we have had with the 50 Swim Smooth Certified Coaches across the world, the situation is looking more optimistic for our coaches and swimmers. It has been great to hear that some of our coaches are now able to offer some sort of swim training, whether that is Seamus Bennett,  (Felixstowe, UK) and Lucy Lloyd-Roach (Manchester, UK) running open water sessions or Merle Taviste (Singapore) and Linda Bostic (Florida, US) running reduced capacity squad sessions at the pool. 



Swim Smooth Dubai's, Paolo Mangilinan is back on the pool deck
Swim Smooth Dubai are back in the pool


In a recent conversation, Mary Jessey, from Swim Smooth Calgary, said pools were beginning to open up and are offering 30 minute slots for swimmers to book onto. Even though Mary's squad swimmers are jumping at the opportunity to get back into the water, they have asked for some inspiration to get the most out of their short training session. 

At Swim Smooth, we have just the thing for a short, sharp, intense training session with minimal equipment. Exactly what you need to get back into the swing of things!


Swim Smooth Suffolk's open water sea swim


The Perfect Pyramid

Equipment: Tempo Trainer set at CSS pace

Complete each of these swims at CSS pace with 5-6s rest in between. If you finish before the 30 minutes is up, repeat with 50m intervals (50m, 100m, 150m etc). See how far you can get and try to beat your distance in your next swim. 

1) 100m 

2) 200m

3) 300m

4) 400m

5) 300m

6) 200m

7) 100m


If you need more ideas to keep you improving in your short training sessions, check out our "Quick 'n' Easy Lunchtime Swims" on the Swim Smooth Guru (subscription required).  

We'd love to hear how you are getting on with your return back to swimming, so email customerservice@swimsmooth.com or tag us in your posts on Facebook (Swim Smooth: The World's Most Passionate Swim Coaching!) and Instagram (@swimsmooth). 

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I Wasn't Quite Fit Enough To Keep Going!

Have you ever said that to yourself after a training set? It started so well, you hit all your times, then in the second half you struggled and missed them by quite a stretch.

The easy conclusion to draw is just that - you weren't quite fit enough and next time will be better. That's it, end of story.

But the truth is otherwise - if you couldn't sustain a pace then you paced the set badly. And as a result you didn't get the same fitness gain from your set as you should have done and what's more, you re-enforced the habit of bad pacing.



If like most of us you've had an enforced break from swimming due to the Covid-19 crisis then you will have lost fitness and you'll find this even more of an issue than normal. 

You might find the temptation to try and hit your times from a few months back - don't do that. Train to the fitness level you have NOW - that's all the matters. Do that and your times will quickly come down again.

Pacing isn't a sexy concept (it's actually quite boring) but good pacing is a critical skill if you want to get the most from your time in the water and achieve your best performances.


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The Need For A Double Sleep

When training towards a goal, it is easy to adopt the mindset that the more training sessions you can get in the better. This is especially true for triathletes or cross-training athletes who are training nearly every day (and sometimes twice a day).

If you have recently managed to get back to training with a big burst of enthusiasm, you might have the attitude of "I missed this so much I'll train and train until I drop!". But don't underestimate the importance of scheduling and sticking to your rest days. You need them!

Training hard and regularly without having appropriate rest will have a detrimental effect on your performance and even make you ill.  Every training session results in a small degree of damage to your muscles, nerves and connective tissues. It also fatigues your energy systems and leaves you depleted. Rest days are important in helping to restore energy levels and repair and rejuvenate those parts of the body that get damaged during training sessions.

If you are a really driven individual you might think "Yeah but if I train in the morning on Thursday and evening on Friday that's over 24 hours rest!" - but the mistake here is to underestimate the importance of sleep for recovery. Try thinking of a rest day as a "double sleep" instead and you'll get a much truer picture of what you need. Taking this time out from your training will allow you to get back to the pool feeling energetic and ready to keep working towards your goal.

How many rest days do I need? We would normally suggest one clear day off per week but if you are especially tired don't be afraid to take a second day off. Striking the right balance between training and recovery is essential to improve your fitness - remember you are gaining, not losing, from the additional rest.

So driven you can't actually do nothing? If you just have to include something on your rest day then make it a stretching routine - especially for your hip flexorsthoracic area and shoulders - areas often neglected by swimmers. Improving flexibility in these areas will help to raise your body position in the water and improve your stroke technique.

You can access our full stretching routine on our Swim Smooth Guru (subscription required) which would be a perfect addition to your rest day:



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Just Get To That 7th Swim And You'll Be Fine

It could be that where you live your local pool is re-opening after a Covid-19 shutdown. If you're lucky enough to be in that situation, or planning your return when you can get back in the water, then you may be wondering how long it will take to get back into the swing of things.

The answer might be shorter than you thought. The first sessions back will feel a bit of a struggle but that's OK, keep pushing on through. We predict that on your seventh session, although you won't be back to full fitness, you will be swimming well and feeling pretty good.

So your challenge is simply to keep going and get to that seventh swim - do that by swimming three times two weeks running, we call it: #2weeks6swims



The first few sessions are probably going to be tough as your body wakes back up to the idea of swimming again. Have the motivation to mechanically push through this period and keep coming back knowing that you will reap the rewards of your hard work in two weeks time. By your seventh session, you'll be getting your rhythm back and you will start to feel that old magic again!

To help make this a little easier and encourage you back into the water, we have written a special training plan for you (don't worry it starts gently!). Check out our 'Bounce Back After Covid-19' Training Plan on the Swim Smooth Guru (subscription required). We not only provide plans for your first 6 sessions but also the 28 sessions to carry on after that - so there is no excuse for you to not push through those first two weeks back swimming.

We'd love to support you and others through this so please take pictures and send through to us at blog@swimsmooth.com or share on instagram and facebook tagging @swimsmooth or Swim Smooth: The World's Most Passionate Swim Coaching and using the hashtag #2weeks6swims. We can't wait to hear about the progress that you have been made!

Stay safe and get to that seventh session...

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Meet the Swim Smooth Coaches of 2020 from Ireland, Wales, East Midlands, Dubai, Canada and New Zealand!

Swim Smooth are super-proud to announce six brand new Certified Coaches to help you take your swimming to the next level, including former ITU World Number 1 triathlete Sam Warriner!

Training to be a SS Coach is a huge undertaking. Developing the necessary skills and experience of advanced video analysis, stroke correction, squad coaching and open water skills takes time and cannot be rushed. We are fortunate enough to be able to pick our coaches from a large talent pool but even for experienced coaches the training is very intense, including that famous trip to Perth, Australia.

Whether you are a complete beginner or elite competitor, when you see a Swim Smooth Coach you can be assured you are seeing a talented, highly trained individual with the very best coaching methods at their disposal.

So without further ado, let's meet the Swim Smooth Class of 2020:

Meet L-R: Brent, Andrea, Sam, Maxine, Penny and Paolo

Sam Warriner - Swim Smooth Taupo, New Zealand


Sam Warriner, New Zealand's most successful female triathlete, former ITU World Number 1 and Ironman Champion.

We’re pleased to announce Sam Warriner amongst our new crop of 2020 Swim Smooth accredited coaches. Based in Taupō New Zealand, Sam launches Swim Smooth Taupō this week in the home of Ironman New Zealand and at the venue for the upcoming Ironman 70.3 World Championships.

Sam competed in the triathlon at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics and took silver in the 2006 Commonwealth Games as well as being victorious in 7 ITU World Cup events, winning the ITU World Cup series overall in 2008.

In 2009 Sam won the Port of Tauranga Half Ironman in a course record time of 4:10:47, and after racing ITU triathlon went on to win 7 x Ironman 70.3 events around the world. In 2011 Sam won Ironman New Zealand just 14 weeks after recovering from heart surgery.

Samantha, retired from the pro field now runs a successful coaching business, Sweat7 Coaching based in Taupo New Zealand and is excited to launch Swim Smooth Taupō and bring the philosophies of Swim Smooth to the many swimmers who travel to Taupō for racing and training in the beautiful lakeside town.

Andrea Garrington - Swim Smooth Wales


Andrea is delighted to be the only certified Swim Smooth coach in Wales, UK.

She has been aware of the Swim Smooth coaching principles since she began my “Tri Life” ten years ago.  Andrea still can't believe that she is now able to bring Swim Smooth to Wales.


Having worked for 30 years in commercial training and development, 5 years ago Andrea shifted this experience to coaching Triathlon, a sport that she has become very passionate about. Triathlon reignited her enthusiasm for swimming.  Now, as well as finishing multiple Iron Man events, Andrea has completed countless marathon swims and in 2018 joined a successful English Channel relay team.

Whilst studying for the British Triathlon Federation qualifications, Andrea discovered that BTF fully endorses the Swim Smooth principles and educates its coaches on the basic methodology.
Impressed with the difference Swim Smooth made to her own stroke, Andrea searched for a local coach to help her progress, and was astonished to find there wasn’t one.

For Andrea, it was a one in a lifetime opportunity and in February 2020 she spent 2 weeks in Perth, Australia (the spiritual home of Swim Smooth), concluding the 14 month process to become fully certified.

So here she is now, able to welcome you to Swim Smooth Wales! Andrea is super confident that she can help you, whatever your swim challenges or goals may be.


Brent Perkins - Swim Smooth East Midlands, UK


Brent is a firm believer in the coach/athlete relationship, it's important to recognise this is a key performance factor in today’s modern sporting environment, and like any other relationship it is defined by the quality of understanding, respect, trust and predictability that exists between the coach and the athletes, this philosophy is fundamental. 

Brent has been a professional triathlon and swim coach for the past 12 years and is now a Certified Swim Smooth coach which has added an additional positive dimension to his skill set plus he benefits from being part of the world wide Swim Smooth network. He coaches and works with athletes working towards their training and racing goals.

In 2020 he has coached and worked with athletes to win Age Group World & European Championships in both Triathlon and Duathlon and Ironman World championships slots. As a Qualified Triathlon, Run and Swim coach, a British Triathlon Team Manager, a Certified Training Peaks Coach, plus of course one of 50 certified Swim Smooth Coaches in the World, he also won Triathlon England East Midlands coach of the year 2020.

It's his aim to help guide his athletes to achieve personal goals and enjoy the journey and have fun along the way too. As an athlete he has competed in races of all distances all over the world including multiple Ironman and 70.3’s. He has also held age group titles and has raced at both ITU World and ETU European level, as well as competing in several ultra running events.

In the spring and the autumn, Brent can be found in Mallorca, running triathlon and swim camps. All camps include full video swim analysis, individual 1:2:1 sessions and of course swimming in the best open water locations that Mallorca has to offer.

Maxine Strain - Swim Smooth Ireland

swimsmooth.com/coaches/find-a-coach/maxine-strain

Maxine is a Swim Smooth and ITU Triathlon coach, who has a particular focus on developing swimmers and triathletes for open water swimming.

She works with all levels of swimmers, and really enjoys seeing those new to the water develop into confident, open water competitors.  Growing up in South Africa, Maxine spent most of her spare time in the pool, both as a leisure activity and as a competitor in school and youth swim meets in her local area. Later in life, after emigrating to Ireland, Maxine discovered the joys of open water swimming and has been a passionate advocate ever since.

On leaving college a career as a busy business executive beckoned, but Maxine always felt her calling was more suited to flip flops than high heels. Eventually the opportunity arose, and Maxine decided to follow her dream and love of swimming by creating her own swim teaching and coaching business which she called AquaSchool.

Maxine offers world class swim video analysis, 1-to-1 swim coaching, adult squad swims, triathlon coaching and swim clinics for triathlon clubs and groups. In 2020 Maxine was chosen to train as a Swim Smooth Coach which entailed intensive training in Perth, Australia for two weeks. Maxine is now delighted to be part of the international Swim Smooth network of coaches.

Paolo Mangilinan - Swim Smooth Dubai


Paolo Mangilinan has a strong background in swimming on the international level and couple of years ago discovered his passion for triathlon. Now, with more than 8 years of coaching experience Paolo decided to take his swimming coaching career to the next level by bringing the Swim Smooth methodology back to Dubai. He has a very professional and friendly approach to every athlete. Paolo truly believes that the key to real improvement is to coach the athlete as an individual to help all the athletes to reach their full potential in swimming. 

Not only does Paolo achieve great success with his coaching, but also his triathlon performances. Paolo is a 10 times 70.3 Ironman finisher and a 2 time ironman qualifier. The extensive personal experience Paolo has in triathlon, allows him to empathise, train and support his athletes in the most effective way. 

Penny Mullan - Swim Smooth British Columbia, Canada


Penny is a Certified Swim Coach with the Coaching Association of Canada. In addition to 15 years of Club coaching with the Comox Valley Aquatic Club Penny is also a Certified Swim Smooth Coach. Certification with Swim Smooth requires experience and knowledge as a swim coach, as well as a 12 month intensive coaching program with Swim Smooth including special intensive training at their home-base in Perth, Australia.

Penny has the skills, experience and knowledge to dramatically improve your individual swimming whatever level you are currently at! Her extensive swim coach background combined with a Kinesiology degree and training in Counselling and Life Coaching has prepared Penny to bring her best coach self to Swim Smooth BC.


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Bilateral Breathing Is Dead Easy In A Wetsuit

Here's two seemingly disconnected things:

You tried bilateral breathing but found it too hard and gave up?

And your pool is shut but you have the opportunity to swim in open water in a wetsuit?

If that's you, we have an opportunity for you:

Swimming in a wetsuit dramatically reduces the load placed on your breathing. This happens because your body is lifted higher in the water by the buoyancy of the suit. That reduces the effort required from your arm stroke (because your drag has been reduced) and reduces the effort required from your kick (because your body is already lifted higher)*. 

It follows then that the lower oxygen demand of wetsuit swimming makes bilateral breathing dramatically easier. So if you can overcome the tendency everyone has to hold their breath in open water (more on this below) then now is the perfect time to revisit bilateral breathing and start reaping those benefits!

Some tips:

- Start at an easy pace.

- Focus on a long smooth exhalation in the water between breaths. This is good breathe technique because it helps get rid of CO2 from your system and will help overcome any open water anxiety.

- Focus on keeping your big toes brushing together. If you normally breathe to one side only it's likely that you have a scissor kick opening up behind you like a parachute. Focusing on the tap-tap-tap of your big toes will keep your legs together and dramatically reduce drag.


Also Try Five (Or Even Seven)

If you already swimming bilaterally in the pool then take advantage of the lower aerobic load in a wetsuit by experimenting with breathing every five or even seven strokes. Everyone's stroke technique and symmetry deteriorates when they are breathing so doing so less frequently means swimming faster and straighter.

It's not just the effect of the wetsuit's buoyancy, most swimmers instinctively swim with a higher stroke rate (cadence) in open water and this will mean the time between breaths is reduced.


Learn A New Skill During The Lockdown

If you've been following Swim Smooth for a while then you'll be used to us waxing lyrical about the benefits of bilateral breathing to your stroke technique. Nothing else gives the same gains when it comes to improving your symmetry in the water - reducing drag and helping you work on your propulsive technique.

So learn a new skill today. You never know, the habit might even stick when your pool eventually reopens. :)


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Your Individual Stroke Rate

When you swim your stroke rate is how many strokes you take per minute. Think of this like your cadence in cycling, are you turning your arms over quickly (like spinning an easy gear on the bike) or slowly (pushing a big gear)?

We measure stroke rate in strokes taken per minute (counting both your arms individually) and you can control yours accurately with a gadget like the Finis Tempo Trainer Pro. Adjust it to any stroke rate you like and simply time your stroke so that your hand enters the water at the front of the stroke as the beep goes. In this way you can make very precise adjustments.

Here's Swim Smooth Coach Anna-Karin swimming at around 65 strokes per minute (SPM) in open water:


If this animation isn't playing at full speed, see the full clip here
www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LDbps7O5Ps

Stroke rates vary considerably from individual to individual as we will discuss below. This also holds true in the elite swimming world with the total range being from as low as 65 SPM right up to 110 SPM. It all depends on the swimmer's natural stroke style, the event they are racing and the environment in which they are swimming.

With all this variation how do you decide what stroke rate you should be targeting? A good angle to examine this problem is by using our Swim Type system. If you can identify your swim type (do so here: www.swimtypes.com) then we can give you some very specific advice on where you should be heading with your stroke rate.

Let's get started:

Type 1. The Arnie

Arnies are the classic swimmers who fight the water and this is reflected in their stroke rate which is too high for their swimming ability, typically in the range 70-85 SPM. Unfortunately they can't sustain this cadence for long and it will drop off after 200m or so. This leaves the naturally athletic Arnie feeling out of breath and unfit.

If this sounds like you, work on lengthening out your stroke and removing a likely crossover of the centre line in front of your head. Consciously lowering your stroke rate will help with this, but don't go too low or you will start to Overglide! Use your Tempo Trainer to target something closer to 60SPM and you'll soon be swimming much more effectively.

Typical stroke rate: 70-85 SPM (but drops quickly after a few lengths)
Good target range: 55-65 SPM


Type 2. The Bambino

Bambinos tend to be new to swimming and as any beginner knows when starting something new, there is a lot to think about! They are quite tentative when they swim and this results in a slow stroke rate in the range 45-55 SPM. If you are a Bambino then experiment lifting your stroke rate to around 55-65 SPM. It helps to provide rhythm and purpose to you stroke and despite turning your arms over faster it should actually feel easier as you develop a better sense of rhythm!

Typical stroke rate: 45-55 SPM
Good target range: 55-65 SPM


Type 3. The Kicktastic

Do you swim slower with a pull buoy? Hate swimming in a wetsuit? You are likely to fall into our Kicktastic swim type. Kicktastics often feel weak in their arms and feel they need to build muscle to help with their swimming. This is in fact a common misconception - what you should be focusing on is improving your catch technique rather than strengthening your arm muscles.

Improving your catch technique not only helps you to move more efficiently in the water but it will also naturally increase your stroke rate without any extra effort. You are likely to be in the 53-65 SPM range right now but by developing your catch you should shift up to around 65-75 SPM, reducing your reliance on your leg kick as you do so.

Remember to develop your catch technique first as trying to lift your stroke rate without improving your catch will be extremely challenging! To do that check out the Catch Masterclass on our Swim Smooth Guru which takes you through our step-by-step guide.

Typical stroke rate: 53-65 SPM
Good target range: 65-75 SPM


Type 4. The Overglider

A major focus on lengthening out and reducing strokes taken per length is the hallmark of the Overglider Swim Type, resulting in the elbow dropping and palm facing forwards at the front of the stroke. This creates a dead spot at the front of the stroke, negatively impacting your speed and efficiency.

When this is taken to the extreme, stroke rates can be as slow as 45 SPM but more typically Overgliders sit in the low 50s SPM. As with the Kicktastic, work on removing the deadspot and improving your catch technique to lift your stroke rate naturally. Don't fall into the trap of turning your arms over faster whilst keeping the deadspot in place - that's extremely hard work. Instead move your arms at the same speed but lift your cadence by removing the pause - instant efficiency gain!

Again, the Catch Masterclass on our Swim Smooth Guru is the perfect program for you.

Typical stroke rate: 45-53 SPM
Good target range: 60-65 SPM


Type 5. The Swinger 

Swingers are incredible to watch, they are fast swimmers who have natural punch and rhythm to their strokes. This is effective in the pool but in undulating open water conditions it's a superior stroke style which allows them to dominate.

Their stroke rates are the highest of all swimmers, normally in the 80-100 SPM range. This is great and is something to be maintained but with a big focus on rhythm they can sometimes hurry their catch a little at the front of the stroke. With that in mind they may need to slightly lower their stroke rate to develop their catch before lifting things up again. A drop of 5 SPM or so should be enough to achieve this.

Typical stroke rate: 80-100 SPM
Development range: experiment with dropping around 5 SPM


Type 6. The Smooth

Smooths have long elegant strokes and make their swimming look easy and effortless! Fundamentally they are swimming in the right way for them but sometimes focus slightly too much on lengthening the stroke at the expense of their stroke rhythm.

If you are Smooth but perhaps not swimming as well as you used to, perform a little catch development work which should help lift your stroke rate by around 5 SPM and "click" you back into good stroke timing. And when venturing into the open water, lifting your stroke rate will help you to better drive through disturbed waves and chop.
 
Typical stroke rate: 60-70 SPM
Development range: experiment with lifting around 5 SPM




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Swim Smooth Podcast with Craig "Crowie" Alexander

We've just released the latest episode of the Swim Smooth Podcast featuring a special interview with 5-time Ironman World Champion Craig "Crowie" Alexander:



Youtube (including video): www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsjxcswT0vE




Crowie was the 2008, 2009, 2011 Ironman Triathlon World Champion and the 2006 and 2011 70.3 World Champion. In 2011 he won both the 70.3 and the full Ironman World Championships. Needless to say - he's a beast, but best of all, he's an absolute gentleman too!

Craig was humbled when Ironman legend and six-time World Champion Dave Scott lauded him as “the first true men’s champion the sport has seen in years.”

The most important thing to Craig is family. He is beyond proud of his wife (and the love of his life) Nerida, and his three amazing kids, Lucy, Austin and Lani. Everything Craig does starts and ends at home with his family. Crowie’s won a lot of titles over the years but the one he likes best is ‘Daddy’. As an aside from us, we've only met Crowie once face-to-face but recall how genuine and approachable he was and when the opportunity to record this podcast with the great man came up, he didn't hesitate, such is his show of great character - he's very much "the people's champion" as you'll hear in the first 60 second intro.

Post-retirement, Craig now runs his highly successful coaching program SansEGO (which basically means "without ego") which we believe, at it's heart, is a philosophy we can all learn from (details at: www.sansego.co). A lot of people talk about “life balance” but Craig really does walk the walk and his information from his website is well worth a deeper dive, especially at this period in time of extreme uncertainty and worry:

His load was extraordinarily heavy but he carried it with methodical focus and balance… and Craig seemed to find more and more comfort with his confidence in simply letting be, be. Alexander’s most impressive talents are not found in his swim, bike, or run competence. Instead, his unique ability to clear the mind’s clutter and make good decisions has been the key ingredient to his success on and off the racecourse. And this key to finding clarity for the 5 x Ironman/70.3 World Champion was getting the life balance right. He put the right people around him and understood that the whole was only stronger than the sum of its parts when the clutter (ego) was removed from the equation.

We really hope you enjoy this conversation with Crowie and a big shout out to Coach Chris Southwell for arranging.


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Getting Back In The Open Water - Our Guide

At Swim Smooth we're very lucky that the local government in Perth, Western Australia has started to allow small groups of people to train together in open water. This opens up the opportunity for our home base coaching crew to restart some group swim coaching in the beautiful Swan River. We haven't had a single case of community transmission in the last two weeks in Western Australia, making it one of the safest places in the world right now.

Rules vary significantly from country to country but as restrictions are lifted you too might soon have this same opportunity to swim in open water where you live. With that in mind Swim Smooth Head Coach Paul Newsome has filmed a new video we've just released to Youtube showing you exactly how he's going about conducting safe and fun open water sessions with his swimmers:



As a swimmer, we hope that inspires to get you into open water action as and when you are allowed. Equally we wanted to show other coaches around the world a possible template to get themselves back on track and delivering sessions again.

Most importantly make sure you stay safe, only swim where there is good open water safety cover and strictly follow your local restrictions.


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Here's some more shots from the fun in Perth:













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The Key To Improving Your Swimming In A Single Picture

With many parts of the world starting to open up after the Covid-19 crisis, you might be able to return to swimming quite soon, probably first in open water. With that in mind, this week on the blog we thought we'd gently re-introduce the idea of how to go about improving your swimming when you do get those arms turning over again.

Firstly, do you know your Swim Type?

After observing tens of thousands of swimmers in action over 20 years of coaching, our Head Coach Paul Newsome identified 6 classic types of swimmer, from beginner right through to Olympian. We call this system Swim Types and it cleverly brings together your background, your natural build, your personality and your stroke technique into one cohesive picture. From that starting point we can address your weaknesses so you start improving.

Get started by discovering your type here: www.swimtypes.com

To get your brain cogs whirring, we thought we'd choose a simple visualisation for each Swim Type which sums up what you need to do to improve your swimming in a "big picture" holistic kind of way. Print it out, stick on your fridge, and every time you go to get the milk out you'll be reminded of what you need to work on.

How accurately does your image apply to your swimming?!

The Arnie

Arnies are the classic swimmers who fight the water when they swim. A large feature of the Arnie strokes is a crossover with the lead head crossing the centre line in front of the head. This causes you to snake down the pool, wasting a lot of energy in the process.

Here's the image we chose for you - it's of the very awesome Jono Van Hazel, extending straight forward in front of his shoulder:



Take this simple visualisation with you when you get back in the water, focus on extending straight and not crossing over and you'll immediately be setting off on the right pathway to improvement.

The Bambino

Bambis, this is yours:


For most Bambinos a lack of confidence is holding them back in the water. This directly impacts on your stroke technique which is normally overly gentle and lacking "oomph".

The next time you get back in the water visualise that you are in fact a swimming super-hero and swim with purpose and intent. You'll immediately feel good and your stroke technique will improve from great positivity. Go on, dive right in, you can do this!

The Kicktastic

As is pretty obvious from their name, Kicktastics have a strong tendency to over-kick when they swim. This reflects a lack of propulsion from their arm stroke - which happens because they pull through under the body with a very straight arm.

Kicktastics, your single visualisation is to bend the elbow and pull through with it bent to 100-120 degrees. The hand should track underneath the shoulder as it does so:



Not only does this create more propulsion but it engages the larger muscle groups of the back and chest, so feels easier too. The result is faster, easier swimming with less reliance on your kick.

The Overglider

OK guys, here's your visualisation:




What can you see? Nothing? Great! Give your google search engine a rest and stop thinking and over-analysing your swim stroke so much. Over-thinking when you swim is seriously holding you back, instead try using intuitive feel and your body's innate abilities to swim more naturally.

The Swinger

Swingers naturally swim with a high stroke rate - giving them great punch and rhythm to the stroke. This is a good thing but oftentimes they end up hurrying the catch at the front of the stroke, "tearing" at the water. Try this visualisation to smoothly engage with the water at this point and not overly hurry your movements:


OK we cheated a little and gave you a moving image but you get the idea - caress the water before driving with your usual sense of purpose once you stroke moves under your chest.

The Smooth

Smooths have all the natural ability in the world... but ironically them often lack motivation to make the most of this natural ability.

With that in mind, here's your visualisation:


Yes, we just want to see you back in the water! Overcome that lack of motivation by setting a solid goal that fires you up, get those competitive juices flowing again and actually get back in the blue stuff again!


Stay safe and well,

Swim Smooth!
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HUUB 50% OFF SALE - Understanding Buoyancy Profiles

As we are sure you've noticed, we've got some stunning 50% OFF deals on 2020 HUUB wetsuits right now. Remember the sale ENDS ON MONDAY! : shop.swimsmooth.com/collections/50-off-huub-sale

HUUB wetsuits come in three major buoyancy profiles and it's important you choose the right one for you, for maximum comfort, stability and of course speed.

These buoyancy profiles are labelled 3:3, 4:4 and 3:5. But what do these numbers mean and which is right for you?

The numbers refer to the thickness of the main areas of neoprene: 3 = 3mm (that's thin for a wetsuit), 4 = 4mm and 5 (you guessed it) = 5mm, the maximum legal thickness in triathlon.

The first number refers to the upper body of the wetsuit and the second the lower body. So 3:5 means 3mm in the upper body and 5mm in the lower.

Obviously more thickness means more buoyancy but where that buoyancy is placed is super important:


The Sinky Legged Swimmer

If you have sinky legs (as many men and some women do) then you obviously want to lift your legs up as high as possible with your wetsuit to minimise drag.

Maximum buoyancy all over then? Actually, no! You want maximum buoyancy in the legs (5mm) but minimum buoyancy in the chest (3mm) because your body acts a bit like a see-saw in the water. Bring your front end down with less buoyancy in the chest and that brings your legs up even more to reduce drag further.

Of course having nice thin material in the upper body also gives maximum flexibility for shoulder and upper back movement - peachy.

Recommended profile: 3:5
Suits: HUUB Brownlee Agilis 3:5   HUUB Varman 3:5   HUUB Aegis II 3:5


The Naturally Buoyant Female Swimmer

Most women have great natural body positions in the water, sitting nice and high with the legs near the surface. If this is you, you might actually dislike swimming in a wetsuit because it makes you feel unstable, awkward and unable to use your kick as you'd like to.

That happens because a high buoyancy wetsuit lifts you too high in the water, leading to instability and causing you to kick into thin air! This is further exacerbated in the ocean where the extra buoyancy from the salt water lifts you even higher.

The solution here is to make the whole suit from 3mm neoprene - a low level of buoyancy overall which allows you to sit in a natural position in the water. The difference is remarkable and the thinner suit keeps you looking slim, is super comfortable and easy to get on and off too - smooth!

Recommended profile: 3:3
Suits:  HUUB Aegis III 3:3  HUUB Brownlee Agilis Womens


The Neutral Male Swimmer

Many experienced swimmers have good body positions in the water but could still benefit from a small lift at both the back and front to bring their drag down a smidgen. Those with a competitive swimming background normally fall into this bracket.

If this is you, 4mm in both the upper and lower body is a nice compromise. It allows you to retain a natural feeling when you swim and if you like to engage your kick you can do that cleanly too. If you've never swum in a wetsuit before you'll be amazed at the extra performance a great suit can bring.

Recommended profile: 4:4
Suits: HUUB Brownlee Agilis 4:4 


If you have a question about your choice of HUUB wetsuit or sizing of it, then send us an email to help@swimsmooth.com or simply reply to this email.

And don't miss those deals! :



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More Visualisation = A Better Stroke

Paul Newsome - Swim Smooth Head Coach:

"When I started training for the Lake Windermere swim this year, I was only able to swim 5-6 hours a week. After a few weeks I was surprised to see that I was making similar improvements in my training to people in the squad who were training 8-10 hours per week. I realised that simply being on the pool deck thinking about swimming and constantly demonstrating good stroke technique was giving me much needed visualisation time and turned out to be equally beneficial for my training as spending time in the water."

Studies show that visualising a movement activates the same areas of the brain as actually performing that movement. This means that taking the time to visualise a perfect swim stroke really does assist in developing great technique. In swimming, where stroke technique is so important to improve your efficiency and speed in the water, more visualisation could be the answer!

Here's the thing: In a training session it is easy to lose focus during long sessions, which could mean you only end up thinking about your technique for about a quarter of that time. If you normally swim 2-4 hours per week, that means you might only have 30-60 minutes a week of active visualisation.

How can we boost that? We suggest setting aside 3x 10 minutes a week to visualise great stroke technique, which will boost your visualisation time without having to spend more hours in the water. Making this small addition to your weekly routine will have a positive impact on your stroke technique when you do return to the water.

At Swim Smooth we have a wealth of resources available to you to assist with "land based visualisation" - it is very much at the core of our swim program. Use them regularly to develop your swimming:

Our Animated Stroke Visualisations



This is the perfect visualisation tool. You can view Mr Smooth's stroke from pretty much any angle to focus in on the parts of your stroke that need the most work. If you don't have it already, download it onto your computer or iPhone totally for free:


And for just US$2.99 / GB£2.99 you can also purchase the PRO version which includes Miss Swinger demonstrating the Swinger stroke style:



Here:


Elite Swimmer Visualisations

Swim Smooth's library of elite swimmer visualisations is unique and extensive. Some of these can be found on Youtube and many more in the Swim Smooth Guru (Standard level subscription required).

Here's a selection of five of our favourites:

The phenomenal olympic swimmer Jono Van Hazel - the basis for the Mr Smooth animation and perhaps the smoothest swimmer in the world? Watch out for his beautifully timed symmetrical stroke: www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3HhNlysFDs

Triathlon World Champion Jodie Swallow, all rhythm and power: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M0dFLueVME

Double Olympic Gold Medallist Rebecca Adlington - simply poetry in motion: www.swimsmooth.guru/video/dN/rebecca-adlington/

Six time world marathon swimming champion Shelley Taylor Smith demonstrating a phenomenal catch and beautiful two-beat kick: www.swimsmooth.guru/video/lP/shelley-taylor-smith/

Triathlon World Champion Tim Don, another fantastically rhythmical stroke full of purpose and agility : www.youtube.com/watch?v=3r99sWPLgLI


Paul Newsome's voiceover on these videos makes sure that you are focussing on the right things when watching each clip.

Rebecca Adlington in the Swim Smooth Guru

Whilst we are unable to actually be in the pool at the moment, let's harness the power of visualisation to make improvements in our stroke technique.


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BRAND NEW Dry-land Stretch Cord Sequence On The Swim Smooth Guru!

During the current global situation we need to be creative and adapt the service that we offer to better suit your current situation. Many of our Swim Smooth coaches around the world are experimenting with different ways to deliver squad sessions and catch up with their members away from the pool deck. These include coffee mornings, happy hours and dryland training sessions - all virtual of course!

Jana Oosthuizen - Swim Smooth Johannesburg

Our Swim Smooth Johannesburg coach Jana Oosthuizen has developed a Dry-land Stretch Cords Sequence for the Swim Smooth Guru to develop shoulder strength and stabilisation whilst you are out of the water. There are 54 exercises in total split into 8 sections, each section has a 5-8 minute video to accompany it.

Not only do these exercises build strength but they will improve the stability and mobility of your shoulders which will in turn improve your stroke technique. They will keep your swimming muscles and nervous system nicely activated and ready for use on your return to the pool.

Click here to get started with these exercises (Guru subscription required).

The Cheat Sheet for Dry-land Stretch Cords Sequence



Here's some of the feedback that Jana's received on the sessions from her own squad swimmers:

“These dryland exercises are great in identifying where the weakness in certain muscles are. Mine is definitely external rotation. With the dryland cords one can really concentrate on the positioning of the hands, arms and shoulders which isn’t also easy to do in a pool.” - Lewellyn

“So who would have thought swimming with no pool is possible ...ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE...
We have soooo enjoyed our squad training outside the pool ... it's tested our muscles ... joined our squad together in isolation and above all made us hungry to swim ... LOVED the muscle burn.” - Candy

“Jana’s land-based sessions came at a time when pools were closing in SA, and they quickly and effectively filled the space this created. The sessions are dynamic, challenging, and your muscles remind you for at least two days after. Swimming muscles all beings thoroughly worked as is evident when one goes into the pool for one of her stationary swim sets. The program is quick, and varied, so keeps it interesting, and improvements are noticed weekly which keeps it motivating. Brilliant work Jana!” - Thomas


Jana's swimmers completing the Doggy Paddle drill using the stretch-cords...


... and giving the session marks out of 10 afterwards!

As well as being a Swim Smooth Coach, Jana is a fully qualified physiotherapist in South Africa. She obtained her Physiotherapy degree, Cum Laude, from the University of Pretoria in 2009 and completed her Orthopaedic Manipulation Therapy (OMT) 1 Certificate during 2011. She qualified as a Certified Swim Smooth Coach in July 2017 and is super passionate about swimming and helping people of all abilities swim better.

When all the pools in South Africa closed, Jana wanted to develop a Swimming Specific Dryland Cord Exercise Program for not only her squad swimmers but also our Swim Smooth Guru Users. It has been an absolute pleasure for Jana to design this programme, knowing that all the Swim Smooth squads & fans around the world will benefit from her exercises!

Check out the full program in the Guru here:




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Only The Bores Get Bored!

In February, we welcomed six coaches from around the world to our mothership pool in Perth for their Swim Smooth coach certification course. The coaches were put through their paces and emerged from the two weeks with all of Paul's tips and tricks to take back to their own squads:

A Talented Bunch: Swim Smooth Coaches Certification Class of 2020
Penny Mullan from Vancouver Island was one of the amazing coaches who attended this year's course. Penny's dedication and hard work before, during and after the course has meant that in only two months since the course, she is close to receiving her full Swim Smooth certification. Once certified, Penny will be joining Bart Rolet (Montreal) and Mary Jessey (Calgary) to become our 3rd coach in Canada.




As one of her coaching challenges, Penny was given the task of writing a blog post for Feel For The Water and we wanted to share this with you as we feel that her chosen title and topic is very apt considering everything that is going on at the moment. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did.

So let's hand over to Penny:


Only The Bores Get Bored!

This was my grandmothers response whenever I said to her “Flossy, I’m bored”.

As with most impactful moments, this comment resurfaces as I moved through my life. Every time I start to feel a little bored with my swimming my grandmother’s words chime in my head. Am I really such a bore when I don’t feel like swimming 3000m in a 25m pool (back and forth, back and forth)?

Well perhaps, but being a ‘bore’, if handled right, can unleash many new insights and possibilities.

What I have discovered is that boredom really is an exciting time. If you really lean into it, it can become an opportunity. You can take a risk and make a change, or you can change your attitude. I never like when people suggest I just change my attitude because if it was that easy boredom would never actually be a THING. So, I choose to take a risk and change.

Everyone will approach boredom/burnout differently as we are unique in our personalities and our approach to challenges. Whether you have an analytical type mind and get really excited about numbers and graphs and projections, or you are more of the type who like to go with the flow and get distracted easily, we can all hit that wall of lane swimming blah, or in the case of open water swimming, that feeling of ‘on the road to nowhere’.

How do we move past this? How do we inject some renewed excitement into our swimming?

We can try one or two of the following suggestions:

- Pick a challenge event/race to train for

- Just train for fun

- Add technical focus

- Remove technical focus

- Change scenery

- Join a swim group/swim with a friend

- Get a new swim suit

- Get some new gadgets

- Don’t use your gadgets

As you can see what moves one person into a new and exciting realm will be different from person to person. What is common, however, is change. Change is a beautiful thing and can unleash so much more than we could ever imagine from our steady state or ‘comfort zone’. We don’t grow by keeping things safe, we grow by meeting our challenges.

Change can also be scary and unsettling. It means getting out of your comfort zone, stepping into something that is not familiar or perhaps something you may even fail at. It can take you into a place of unknown that you just don’t have the control that you are used to. Getting past this fear and seeing the opportunities on the other side can open you up to improving on your swim goals and adapting in ways you may not have considered.

Change can create a platform for positive and creative thinking (i.e. how can I do this set differently so it doesn’t feel so mundane?) Mix up your pattern and don’t be afraid to take that side route from your intended path. Even if you are focusing on a particular event, or time achievement, veering off your path once in a while doesn’t have to be harmful to training goals. In fact it can add perspective, which is something that so often gets lost when we are tunnel vision focused.

How we respond to boredom is our choice. When boredom speaks to you pay attention and observe (what do you feel, what are you thinking, what needs to change). Embracing this very real part of swim training can help you to move past it. The discoveries on the other side of boredom are the gifts of a renewed enthusiasm.

If all of this is just more than you feel like thinking about, here are a few photos that will remind you of why swimming is so fabulous:










Penny Mullan - Swim Smooth Coach In Training

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Suffering From Swimming Withdrawal Symptoms? Swim Smooth Has You Covered!

For many of you swimming enthusiasts across the world, not being able to access your local swimming pools and leisure centres is a real dilemma. As fellow lovers of swimming, at Swim Smooth we also feel your pain and are experiencing a multitude of withdrawal symptoms!

We've been working hard with our Certified Coaches to offer you an array of free resources and content to make sure you are getting your swimming fix. They're a talented bunch and have a lot to share with you!

Here's four things we have for you now (and coming in the pipeline) to keep your head in the swimming game:

1.  Workout Of The Day in our Swim Smooth Guru

Paul has been working hard to put together a series of land-based workout videos that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home. They will work on different aspects of your stroke technique to keep you swim fit until you are able to return to the pool. These can located from on the dashboard of the Swim Smooth Guru (see image below). We'd love to see pictures of your guys doing these workouts, so be sure to put them on Instagram and Facebook and tag us in them!


2. Online Video Analysis

To make sure you are still focussing on your technique during your time out of the pool, we are now offering our world-renowned 1-2-1 video analysis online. To kickstart this service, we have an amazing introductory offer of 50% off the original price, so head here to make sure you don't miss out!

If you can still swim and take some new footage that's great but if not you might have some existing video stored on your phone or camera to send us. Ideally this would be above and below the water but our coaches can often provide a lot of assistance from above the water only.

Our 1-2-1 Video Analysis now available online!

3. Team Swim Smooth YouTube Account

Our Certified Coaches have been hard at work producing video content and sessions for you to complete at home. You can easily find all of these at home sessions on our BRAND NEW YouTube channel: TEAM SWIM SMOOTH! Be sure to subscribe to the channel to keep up to date with all the new content that is available. 

Check out our first video by Swim Smooth Coach/Pilates Instructor Anne-Marie Munk based in Hong Kong: 



4. Our Coaches Instagram Takeover Continues!

Every week we are giving you the chance to meet one of our 50 amazing Swim Smooth Certified Coaches on our Instagram stories. This week it was the legendary Anna-Karin Lundin's turn to takeover and she did a fantastic job giving us a brilliant behind the scenes look into her day on the pool deck in Gothenburg, Sweden. If you missed it, you can catch up on all the antics by following this link here or heading to the highlights on our Instagram home page:

Anna-Karin's Instagram Takeover
We hope all of these things can keep you entertained during the lockdown!

Stay safe and well,

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