When you look at elite swimmers in action you see incredible variation in how they move through the water. Here's five areas of stroke technique where there's almost no consistency in elite swimmers* :
Kick power - varying between a powerful 6 beat kick, continuous gentle flutter or 2 beat switch kick.
Head position - looking forwards, straight down at the bottom of the pool or anywhere in-between.
Length of stroke - ranging from 28 to 60 strokes per 50m!
Stroke rate (cadence) - ranging from 60 to 120 strokes per minute!
Arm recovery style - classical high elbow, high-and-swinging arm or anywhere in between.
It's not just elite swimmers though, if you watch the better swimmers in your local pool you'll also see the same variation.
Many coaches have a preferred stroke style that they like the look of and try to guide all their swimmers in that direction. Often (but not always) they are aiming for a high elbow arm recovery, powerful kick and a long stroke. But if you've tried that and are frustrated at your progress then possibly it's just not right for you.
The fact is that a coach's aesthetic preference is actually pretty irrelevant. And in a sense, your own preference is too. Your own individual height, strength, build, flexibility, experience and even personality combine to create the swimmer you are and for the most part you can't change that.
Your goal shouldn't to try and be something you're not. Instead use Swim Smooth coaching to work on areas of your stroke technique that always matter:
- Sitting high in the water.
- Using a straight legged kick with a slight softness at the knee.
- A strong smooth exhalation under the water.
- Pressing the water straight back behind you from the front to the rear of the stroke.
- Developing rhythm and purpose.
Do that and you will naturally evolve to become the best version of your swimming self.