Thursday, November 28, 2019

10 Ways To Improve Your Swimming With The Guru (Up To 25% Off In The Black Friday Sale!)

A long long time ago, when millennials were still at school and people still bought CDs, if you didn't have access to a Swim Smooth coach to improve your swimming, you would have bought one of our coaching DVDs. All was good in the world - sunglasses got bigger and bigger, Uber referred to German cyclists and a Blackberry wasn't a fruit for a while.

But around 2012 it was obvious that the world was quickly moving on and technology was coming that would allow us to produce a much better coaching product than a mere DVD. We could deliver massively more interactive content and sophisticated intelligence to guide the swimmer. A true "virtual coach" was the name of the game.

And so we started writing... and filming... and coding... and filming... and writing:

Three years later, one bright sunny day in December 2014 The Guru was launched (or the Swim Smooth Coaching System as it was called back then):

The result was a "web-app" based system you could access from any laptop, smartphone or tablet with over 30 hours (!) of high quality coaching video, extensive training plans and interactive stroke correction.

The Guru is still such a new idea in coaching that it might not be intuitively obvious to you how it works, so we've outlined 10 ways to use the Guru to improve your own swimming (or coaching). But before we get started with that don't miss the fact that we have a Black Friday deal on the Guru running for the next few days only:

Sign-up here and use promo code TYCJ-RMAV to get 30% off a 3 month PRO subscription or 25% off an annual PRO subscription:

10 Ways To Improve Your Swimming With The Guru

1. Our Complete Drill Library (Pro and Std Subscriptions)

Never again wonder what to focus on or the purpose of any drill with our full guide to every SS drill featuring extensive coaching points. Watch in glorious HD from any angle:

Subscribers shortcut:

2. Study Elite Swimmers (Pro and Std Subscriptions)

How can elite swimmers possibly be so quick? Understand how with our exclusive collection of amazing swimmers shot for you to study from every angle. Featuring Olympic Champions like Rebecca Adlington and the fastest female swimmer in triathlon Lucy Charles:

Subscribers shortcut:

3. Our Full Learn To Swim Program (Pro and Std Subscriptions)

Can't swim freestyle yet? You're in for a treat as both subscription levels of the Guru feature our full Learn To Swim process. We'll build up your stroke step by step for those first laps of smooth effective freestyle - get inspired!

Subscribers shortcut:

4. Correct Your Stroke With Our Fault Fixer (Std & Pro) & Swim Types Processes (Pro subscriptions)

OK down to business directly improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your stroke with our truly individual approach to stroke correction. You have a choice of two routes - firstly identify a specific fault in your stroke and follow our step-by-step process to correct it. Or work on multiple areas at once with our ingenious Swim Types processes - identify your type and fast track your progress with our holistic approach to your swimming.

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5. Training Plans For Any Distance (Pro subscriptions)

Training for any distance of triathlon or open water swim? We have a full swim training plan specific for your needs to get you fully prepared for a big personal best. 19 plans to choose from in total:

Of course you can print out any session to take poolside and follow.

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6. Session Libraries (Pro subscriptions only)

Not following an event plan but want a session of a specific type of session to follow? We've organised over 800 (!) sessions by type in our libraries. Technique, Aerobic Endurance, CSS or Red Mist - you decide! The perfect resource for coaches too.

Subscribers shortcut:

7. Train Interactively With A Tempo Trainer & "Tweak" Your Fitness

The Guru knows and tracks your swimming ability using the CSS system which Swim Smooth popularised throughout swimming. With our clever "tweaking" method, your CSS pace adapts over time to make sure you are training at the optimal pace for your ability.

But how do we make sure you swim at the right speed? With our Tempo Trainer Pro integration. Simply program the Guru's settings into your Tempo Trainer and swim to the beep - turning and pushing at the end of each lap as it beeps (a bit like a beep-test in the gym):

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8. Fitness Tracker (Pro Subscription) & Performance Profile (Pro - Marlin Required)

Want to see visually how you are progressing? How do you know how tired you are and if that's affecting your speed on any given day? The Guru features a clever Fitness Tracker to model your fitness and fatigue levels visually over time. Easily compare month against month or year against year.

Subscribers shortcut:

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9. Swim With Our Virtual Squad - The Exact Same Sessions As The Perth Squad!

Unfortunately not everyone can swim in sunny Perth at the glorious Claremont swimming pool but now you can swim the same sessions at the same time! The Virtual Squad features technique, training and open water skills direct from Head Coach Paul Newsome down-under:

Subscribers shortcut:

10. Coaches Dashboard - Perfect For Face To Face Coaching

A fantastic resource for all coaches. Explore our full drill library and watch elite athlete videos to help with your squad sessions. Use the Guru to calculate the CSS's of your squad to make sure everyone is working to their full potential in your session. Genius!

You'll love working with the Guru - so much so you might even be inspired to bake a Guru cake (Thanks Nolan!) :

Sign-up to the Guru here and use promo code TYCJ-RMAV to get 30% off a 3 month PRO subscription or 25% off an annual PRO subscription:

Swim Smooth!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Black Friday: Five Swim Bag Essentials

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for your partner? Or feel the need to make a change to your swimming and need the right tool to achieve it?

No problem, skip trawling the internet for hours - we've done the hard yards for you and assembled the ultimate Swim Bag Essentials list for to choose from. And yes, every item is in our Black Friday Sale!

Read on below or jump directly to our Black Friday sale here:

Please note, Black Friday offers only run whilst stock lasts - don't delay in purchasing!

1. Get Focused With A Finis Tempo Trainer Pro

First on the list is this classic easy to use tool to improve your swimming. It's been around a while but it is so so effective we can't imagine swimming without one.

The Tempo Trainer Pro works in one of two ways:

- Use a regular beep to subtly adjust your stroke rate whilst swimming. Fighting the water? Slow things down slightly. Overgliding or too gentle with the water? Speed things up. Instant gains!

- Or, set the beep to once per length and use the Tempo Trainer as a training partner to pace you through key training sets. It keeps you focused and pushes you on when you might otherwise switch off!

The Tempo Trainer Pro is the best selling item in our Swim Shop (ever) and you can save over 10% on it in our Black Friday sale :

2. Perform Key Drills With A Perfectly Sized Pull Buoy

Last but not least is the ever humble pull buoy. Seemingly just a nicely shaped piece of foam, placed high between your legs a pull buoy allows you to perform essential drills such as Scull #1 and Doggy Paddle.

So important are these drills that it's actually pretty hard to develop a good catch and pull technique without them. Don't try performing them without a pull-buoy either, using some kick to keep your legs up overpowers the drill!

Check out this video of 20 coaches trying out the sculling drill (with their pull buoys) and understanding the power of it:

View here:

Get your perfectly formed Finis pull buoy (and save >10% in our Black Friday sale) here:

And if you have a naturally high body position in the water, check out the less buoyant junior version here:

3. Crossing Over In Front Of Your Head? Don't Miss The Awesome Finis Freestyler Paddles

Swimming paddles have traditionally been large circular plates which you strap to your hand to increase the water's resistance. They make it harder to pull through and so act to develop your strength.

The Finis Freestyler Paddles (and Agility paddles below) are very different. They are technique paddles, designed to give you feedback on how you swim to improve your stroke.

The Freestyler Paddle is shaped like an arrow head with a straight keel underneath. This encourages them to straighten up and point straight down the pool. So if you cross the centre line in front of your head (as so many swimmers do) they counter-act that and gently straighten you up:

They also feature a single narrow strap that you place your middle finger through, meaning that if you crossover you'll feel them move under your hand - more great feedback. These versatile paddles are also a great tool to work on a nice clean hand entry into the water - highly recommended all round!

Save >10% on your Freestyler paddles in our Black Friday Sale:

4. More Advanced? Check Out The Agility and ISO Paddles

If you are a slightly more advanced swimmer, take a look at the Finis Agility Paddle and the Finis ISO Paddles - two more technique paddles focusing on different areas of the stroke.

The Agility paddle has a unique curved shape and strapless design that helps you develop a high elbow catch position. If you've been swimming a while you'll know how elusive that can be to develop:

The Agility paddles are beautiful smooth paddles to use and if you do want to do some strength training they're the perfect paddle for that too - the strapless design and curved shape makes them very easy on the hand.

Save >10% on your Agility paddles in our Black Friday Sale:

Alternatively consider the Finis ISO Paddle for intermediate to advanced swimmers. The non-symmetrical nature of this paddle creates an inbalance in the catch and pull phase forcing you to stabilise the paddle as you pull through. This makes you super-aware of the pathway of your hand and the movement through the water.

These paddles are REVERSIBLE meaning depending on the hands you wear the paddles on, you can work on different muscle groups. Wearing the black paddle on your right hand isolates the pectorals and biceps, switching the paddles over allows you to engage your latissimus dorsi and triceps. Ingenious!

Buy yours here:

5. Now You Just Need A Bag To Put Everything In!

Need somewhere to store all of your exciting new items? Then complete your Christmas list with the Finis Mesh Bag to take all your new Christmas delights to the poolside. The mesh design means you can drop in wet items and they (and the bag) will still dry effectively with them inside - super!

Save >10% on your Mesh Bag in our Black Friday sale:

All of these items are available in our Black Friday Deals which are available online now, so get ordering and get yourself organised for Christmas!

Swim Smooth!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

A Request From Swim Smooth - Can You Help Us?

Happy Friday! We have a request - would you assist us by answering a few super-quick questions about you and your swimming?

You can do that for us using the Google Form here:

If you've been following Swim Smooth for a while you will know that our coaching takes account of your individuality - whether you are tall, short, sinky, buoyant, young or less young! Your data will let us give you the right coaching advice and ensures that you get the very most from your time in the water, improving at the fastest rate possible.

By answering this short survey you will be helping us fine-tune some new coaching tools for 2020 which you will be able to put to work on your own swimming to keep those improvements coming.

We can't wait to share those tools with you but in the meantime your data will be super-useful in developing them.

Janine and Neil demonstrate how different we all our. Janine's actually a faster swimmer, so if you
have shorter arms yourself don't despair, it's just about swimming in the right way for your individual makeup.

Here's that form again!

Thank you for all your help with this week's blog Swim Smoothers!

Thursday, November 07, 2019

The Mini Goldilocks Set - Your First Proper Training Set?

A post this week for our new Swim Smooth Community Manager - Myffy - who has a background in several sports but is new to swimming herself.

If you are learning to swim freestyle and working on the basics of the stroke then check out the "Mini Goldilocks" set here and give it a go yourself. If you normally just get in and swim lengths then this might be your first ever structured training session. Mini Goldilocks is perfect for that!

Over to Myffy:

Starting out on Day 1 at Swim Smooth HQ was exciting enough, but my excitement soared when within 10 minutes I was presented with a party bag of Swim Smooth essentials! As I delved into the bag and fully investigated the contents, there were towels, books, manuals and swimming hats for every day of the week:

But I quickly came across some items I had no idea how to use - a Tempo Trainer Pro, Fins and Paddles were among them. Having been busy with other sports and only ever swum occasionally I was excited to get down to the pool and test out all of these new goodies!

With the kit bag in tow, I quickly made my way down to the pool to try out swimming the Swim Smooth way. SS Head UK Coach Adam Young was keen for me to test out a classic Swim Smooth Set - "Goldilocks" - but adapted it slightly to suit my ability level. To maintain the pace throughout this whole set, I got to use my first piece of equipment - the Tempo Trainer! 

Here's the set:

Mini Goldilocks Set

3 x 50m + 1 beep rest
1 x 100m (Baby Bear)

3 x 50m  + 1 beep rest
1 x 200m (Mama Bear) 

3 x 50m  + 1 beep rest
1 x 300m (Papa Bear)

Ideally this session should be swum with a Finis Tempo Trainer Pro in mode 1 or mode 2 so that it beeps once per length to you in a 25m/yd pool or twice per length in a 50m pool.

The goal is to stay with the beep so that it paces you through the swim at constant speed. This should feel quite easy during the 50s but get harder over the 100, 200 and 300! After each of the 50s, stop and wait for the next beep - we call this "one beep rest".

In preparation for the new role, I made sure I was well read on all things Swim Smooth and put the book, Swim Smooth, The Complete Coaching System for Swimmers and Triathletes first on my holiday reading list! Armed with all the theory behind the freestyle stroke, I was now faced with the challenge of recreating this in the pool.
Beep beep!

The book highlighted the importance of getting your breathing technique right, so to feel a bit more comfortable in the water I made sure I started off with a few sink downs. Spending a long time bobbing at the top of the water made me quickly realise that I needed a much stronger exhale to get me to the bottom of the pool more easily. With the stronger exhale I sunk down to the bottom with ease so thought I was ready to set the Finis Tempo Trainer to 0:27s for a 25m pool and started the first 50m of the 'Baby Goldilocks Set'.

[Adam: With more experienced swimmers we use something called the CSS Test to determine your pace per length but if you are new to swimming, take an initial guess (perhaps 35 seconds per 25m in mode 2) and swim a few lengths and try and stay with the Tempo Trainer Pro beep. Too fast or too slow? Adjust the beeper until it feels like you are swimming at a good level of effort but not sprinting to keep up.]

I placed the Tempo Trainer underneath my swimming cap, a device you set to your estimated time for one length of the pool. Start the length on the beep and aim to reach the other end of the pool by the second beep. Feeling very smug with myself that I managed to set the Tempo Trainer to the right mode, I set off for my first lap with a strong push off from the wall. So strong that the Tempo Trainer was forced out of swimming hat and I was left having to swim the wrong way in the lane to retrieve it!

After the minor delay I quickly got back to the set, I was feeling good after the 'Baby Bear' and found focusing on my breathing helped to keep my breathing strong and body position up in the water. Despite this, the longer swims in the set provided me with a real challenge. Trying to keep my breathing strong, arm straight out in front on the breathing stroke and staying in time with the beeper proved to be a bit of a struggle and did lead to a sense of panic, so I decided to skip a beep in Daddy Bear to stay on time.

Even though the final swim was tough, it did not take away from the enjoyment of the swim and my eagerness to return to the water. And I've learnt several valuable lessons for my next session! Don't push off too hard from the wall! Stay calm and breathe - focusing on my breathing was a great way to switch off from everything outside of the pool. Don't be too harsh on yourself if you don't quite manage to complete what you set out to do, the way you wanted to do it. Being consistent with your training is key and you will still see improvements!

If, like me, you are new to the world of swimming, the Swim Smooth Guru has some great programmes to help you out. Try our Learn2Swim programme or the 'Boosting the Bambino' programme and experience the joys of life in the water:

Bye for now,


Swim Smooth!