Friday, July 28, 2017

Our New SS Coach In Johannesburg + Conventional Wisdom Takes Another Beating : The Fina World Championships Budapest

SS Clinics, Camps and 1to1s:

North America

New Oceanside CA Squad starting July 26th

Solana Beach / Oceanside / Carlsbad Video Analysis

Chicago Video Analysis

Chicago Squads

Montreal Squads

Montreal Video Analysis

The Woodlands TX, Swim Squad

Asia / Middle East / Australia

Kuala Lumpur Swim Squad

Kuala Lumpur Video Analysis

Hong Kong Squads & Video Analysis

Perth Squads

Perth Video Analysis


Nijmegen Video Analysis.  & Stroke Correction

City Of Elche Video Analysis / Squads

Nijmegen SS Squads

Zwevegem Video Analysis (English - Dutch)

Prague Junior Swim Club

SS Camp Lanzarote (English - Dutch)

Prague Junior Swim Club

Prague Video Analysis

United Kingdom

Yorkshire Video Analysis

West Lothian Video Analysis

Richmond London SS Squad

SW London Swim Workshops

Salisbury 1to1 Analysis

Twickenham Video Analysis

Lancaster SS Squad

Swindon/Cotswolds Video Analysis

Lancaster Video Analysis

Northampton Swim Squad

Open Water 1-2-1s

Swindon SS Squad (Try for free!)

Felixstowe Video Analysis

Stratford upon Avon & Birmingham/Coventry Squads

Felixstowe Squads

Heston West London Video Analysis

Cardiff Video Analysis Clinic

Improvers Freestyle Course, Abingdon

Open Water Confidence Course, Dorchester
4 Places Left

Northampton Video Analysis Clinic

Hever Castle Open Water Clinic

Guernsey SS Squads

Guernsey Video Analysis

Yorkshire Squads (Pool & OW)
Swim Smooth is very proud to announce our first Certified Swim Smooth Coach in Africa, Jana Schoeman based in Johannesburg:

Jana simply loves swimming and helping people swim better, no what matter your ability level. She has an extensive knowledge of biomechanics from her background as a physiotherapist before starting her swim coaching career leaving her perfectly placed to improve all technical aspects of your swimming.

Jana runs Swim Smooth squads and advanced video analysis and stroke correct sessions at the Boksburg North 50m Indoor Pool in Joburg.

Find out more about Jana and book a session with this brilliant coach at:

phone: +27 (0)82 823 9478

Conventional Wisdom Takes Another Beating : The Fina World Championships Budapest

If you love your swimming, we hope you've been enjoying the action at the Fina World Champs in Budapest. The racing has been tight and enthralling so far!

Here at Swim Smooth we're not afraid to take on conventional wisdom when we think it's wrong and we've taken our fair share of flack from "old school" swim coaches who feel challenged by the changes we're making in swimming. Once again, the Budapest is turning that conventional wisdom on its head and those who refuse to change are being (literally) left behind.

Here's our round-up from Budapest so far: Revenge of the "Ugly" strokes?

Adam Peaty And His "Headbutt" Stroke

Wherever you are from (but especially if you are British) you can't have missed the phenomenal performances of Adam Peaty. We don't normally talk about breaststroke too much at Swim Smooth but Adam has taken the 50 and 100m events to a different level and there are lessons in how he's achieved this which are relevant for all four strokes.

The key feature with Adam's swimming is how his stroke is shorter with a faster turnover than anyone else in his races. You can clearly see that from watching him race:

UK :


(If you can't access the world champs using these links, check out Adam's Rio 2016 win here:

As Paul examines in this study of Peaty's stroke from Rio 2016, so aggressive is he that he actively head-butts the water as he swims. Highly unconventional and not what one normally think of as a good looking stroke:

Peaty's coach Melanie Marshall has done phenomenal work with Adam, spurring conventional wisdom that breast stroke should only be swum with a long glide in the stroke (we've heard it all before with freestyle of course!). Adam's stroke is quite the opposite, it is all power, rhythm and fast turnover, with very little glide at all.

In fact the more you look at the very top performers in swimming, the more you appreciate that aesthetically pretty strokes don't necessarily equate to speed and efficiency. What we perceive to be a beautiful elegant stroke may or may not be efficient - in practise there's almost no correlation at all. 

Here's the stats from the 100m Breaststroke Final at the Rio games:

Notice how many more strokes Adam is taking than his rivals and how much faster his turnover is. If you have a Tempo Trainer Pro, try setting it to 59 SPM in mode 3 for breast stroke - it's incredibly fast!

Such is the strength of the conventional viewpoint that all strokes should be long and smooth that in Australia the race commentators were very critical of Adam's stroke, suggesting if he glided more and lengthened out he would be better. But they're entirely missing the point - Peaty is succeeding because of his stroke, not despite it! So dominant is Peaty that he holds the top 10 fastest times ever in the 100m breaststroke and 9 of the top 10 in the 50m breast - for Peat's sake (sorry!) - how is that possible if his stroke is so fundamentally wrong?!

The truth is that swimming is still developing at a great pace and our prediction is that come Tokyo 2020, all the best breaststrokers in the world will be using this style and decades of convention will have been turned on its head.

Women's 200m Freestyle - Pellegrini Turns Back The Clock

In women's freestyle the great Katie Ledecky has been totally dominant over the last 4 years or so, winning 200, 400 and 800 freestyle gold at the Rio Olympics (as well as another relay gold and silver)!

But in Budapest, World Record holder Federica Pellegrini paced her race perfectly to pip Ledecky for 200m glory:

Pelegrini is a full-on Swinger, with an extremely high stroke rate (over 90 strokes per minute) and straight arm turnover, swinging around the side:

Again, not a pretty stroke but incredibly effective. Should we really be listening to the armchair experts who say you must be long and smooth to be a great swimmer?

Think Effective And Think Purposeful - But Not Necessarily Beautiful

You want to swim faster and more effectively and that's only right but don't confuse that with trying to look perfect when you swim. There are some notable exceptions (such as Ian Thorpe) but for most of the time great swimmers don't look particularly elegant or pretty when they're swimming at their best. They actually look powerful, punchy, rhythmical and purposeful... and so should you.

So focus on the things that matter and if that happens to look beautiful then that's great but let's not confuse pretty with effective. If anyone tells you otherwise, send them our way and let us take the flack for that:

The Crazy Ones

Swim Smooth!