Friday, October 31, 2014

Swim Types: Examining The Opposite Sex

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We released the Swim Types system in 2010 and the gender of the original cartoons was chosen because of a bias in numbers within each type. For instance there are more female Bambinos than male in the world so we chose a female cartoon. However, there are many of the opposite gender swimmers out there who might have felt a bit left out... until now.

For a Swim Smooth project we have in the pipeline we have created 'alternative genders' for each of the Swim Type cartoons, we hope you like them:
(click image to expand)

Fundamentally you're the same type of swimmer with the same characteristics whether you're the female or male of any of the Swim Types. But sometimes the other sex can look subtly different both physically and when looking at their strokes.

Let's have a quick look at each of the 'opposite sexes':

The Arnette

The male Arnie is normally quite easy to spot with plenty of fast-twitch lean muscle mass, however the rarer female version (we call them Arnettes) is perhaps less obvious. Arnettes still tend to have an athletic build but are more feminine and perhaps less overtly muscular.

Arnettes are normally just as frustrated with swimming as their male counterparts and also have that tendency to try and muscle the water. A poor body position with low lying legs is normally in place but they might sit higher in the water than a male Arnie due to a lower muscle mass.

The Male Bambino

Most male Bambinos have a lighter build and are possibly quite narrow across the shoulders. Whilst Bambinos generally don't have a sporting background, we have found quite a few male Bambinos have a strong running background.

As with their female counterparts, male Bambinos need to work on their stroke timing - improving the lead arm collapsing when they go to breathe (see here). Improving coordination is the name of the game here and not being afraid to work hard and put a little oomph into the stroke.

The fitness side of swimming is particularly important for Bambinos as they tend to come into swimming at quite a low level of swim fitness. It's a common trap for male Bambinos to shy away from a bit of hard work, which they really need to take big strides forwards.

The Male Kicktastic

Kicktastics have nearly always swum as a child and male Kicktastics are no exception! Much less common than the female version, male Kicktastics may be less obvious than the female version as being that bit taller their kicking rate can be lower. To see the power and energy going into their kick we often need to get an underwater view with video analysis.

You might have noticed the new cartoon has tattoos and a hemp bracelet! Kicktastics seem to be quite spiritual earthy people and both sexes often sport small tattoos, particularly on the ankles and feet (that might sound unbelievable but we see it time and time again!).

Both male and female kicktastics are quite 'reflective learners' meaning they like to think about introducing changes to their stroke rather than crashing forwards like a bull in a china shop. For this reason we've found many Kicktastics like taking notes during video analysis sessions so they can reflect back on things later.

The Female Overglider

Perhaps the most rare of all the opposite-sex Swim Types. Like their male counterparts, most female Overgliders have a background in an analytical or technical profession like science, engineering or IT.

Male Overgliders can carry an air of scepticism with them and have a bit of a habit of frowning when being coached. However as you'd expect from the fairer sex, female Overgliders have stronger 'soft skills' and may be more willing to compromise and give things a try without a full intellectual assessment of what they are about to do.

As with male Overgliders, the key to developing their strokes is to tune up their catch mechanics to allow them to swim with greater rhythm and purpose.

The Male Swinger

Just as plentiful as the female version, male Swingers love swimming and tend to be the life and soul of masters swim squads. Normally with a swimming background, male Swingers enjoy getting on with the hard yards and pushing through long sets but may rush through technique work without consideration for what they are doing.

Of course, you won't have missed the new bright bathers worn by our cartoons - Swingers just love them, perhaps a reflection of their uninhibited go-getting personalities!

The Female Smooth

Perhaps the question we are asked more than any other in relation to Swim Type genders is what does a female smooth look like? The answer is often pretty glamorous!

Normally tall with great posture, female Smooths pay attention to their appearance and hold themselves well at all times.

As you'd expect they are technically brilliant in the water and just as smooth as their male counterparts but as they are not quite as tall or broad, they may not appear quite as long in their stroke.

Improving Your Swimming Using Swim Types

The Swim Type system is a great way to work on what is specifically holding you back with your individual swimming, you can find out more about the system at

For each Swim Type we've written a tailored Stroke Development Guide for you to follow containing our bespoke step-by-step process for developing your swimming:

Each guide contains all the drills, visualisations and processes you need to improve your swimming - highly recommended!

Swim Smooth!

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