top of page

How To Change Your Swimming Technique

I’m going to let you in on a dirty, little secret that no one acknowledges.

It’s going to make a major impact on how you approach your swimming moving forward


At least how most people do them.

Here’s what they do.

They perform a bunch of different drills, all at once, in the beginning of the workout.

Maybe those exercises are chosen for specific reasons, maybe not.

Then they go swim the rest of the workout, maybe ‘thinking’ about their skills, maybe not.

It doesn’t work because they’re not spending their time working on the making sure they’re connecting the drills with the swimming in any way.

Of course, I’m not just going to tell you what’s wrong.

I’m all about solutions.

Here’s the 3-step process I use to ensure that skills change as fast as possible, and as dramatically as possible-

1. Use as few exercises as possible (only the best!)

2. Perform the same exercises in different contexts

3. Constantly integrate full stroke swimming into the process

Pretty simple, huh?

Of course, simple isn’t easy.

To make sure you understand what each step entails, and why it matters, we’re going to take it step by step.

Then I’ll put it all together with a practical example so you can see what it actually looks like.

Use As Few Exercises As Possible

Let’s say you’re a coffee snob (or wine or pizza or…).

Would you drink crappy coffee just for variety?

Of course, not!

You’d pick the best coffee you could afford and drink that.

You need to think about the exercises you choose the same way.

Pick the BEST ones and use those, ignoring the rest.

You don’t need a bunch of different exercises.

You don’t WANT a bunch of different exercises.

If they’re not as good as another option, it’s literally a waste of time and energy.

For more on how to pick the best, click HERE.

You want to be a minimalist.

Find the best exercises to solve your problem and then DOUBLE DOWN on them.

That’s how you make progress.

You may be thinking, but what I get bored?

Great question, which brings us to step #2.

Perform The Same Exercises In Different Contexts

Just because you’re performing a minimal number of exercises doesn’t mean you’re just going to do the same thing over and over again.

That WOULD be boring, and it wouldn’t be particularly productive.

You’d learn because you’re using good exercises, but you wouldn’t KEEP learning.

By practicing the same exercise in different ways, you’re going to pick up on the nuances of the skill you’re working to learn.

It’s the novelty of the different variations that exposes this nuance.

By getting exposed to all of the nuance, you’ll develop mastery over the skill you’re working to learn.

Mastery isn’t possible when you’re doing 12 different exercises.

Sounds great, but how do you do it?

You can change the speed.

Get faster each repetition, get faster within a repetition, or just go fast.

If it’s a floating exercise, how fast can you get into the desired position?

How slowly can you get into the desired position?

You can change the stroke count.

Take more, take less, or alternate between more and less.

You can change the gear.

Use paddles, use fins, use a buoy, use a snorkel, and use them all in different ways.

There’s an entire YouTube playlist with 60+ ideas for how to integrate swimming gear to improve your skills.

Use it!

You can combine all three, in sequence or at the same time.

The key idea is rather than changing the exercises you use, use the BEST ones and then change how you perform them.

You’ll still be working on the best exercises AND you’ll be learning more.

Constantly Integrate Full Stroke Swimming

Remember the goal- you’re trying to improve your FREESTYLE.

As I talked about before, exercises are perfect for helping you FEEL new ways of moving through the water.

You have to take those sensations with you into your swimming if you want real and lasting change.

The more times you can pair the exercises and swimming together, the better the results you’re going to get.

It’s about going back and forth, transferring what you learn in the exercise to what you experience while swimming freestyle.

Now, just as with the exercises, you don’t want to do the same old thing everything time.

You want to practice in different contexts as well.

Add some speed.

Change your stroke count.

Wear gear.

Change the distances up.

Combine these strategies.

These are all strategies to expand your learning and help you transfer what you feel during the exercises and integrate it into your swimming.

This is the final step in the change process, and it’s just as important as the others.

Without it, you won’t get the results you’re looking for.

Let’s Get Practical!

So, what does this ACTUALLY look like?

Last time, I showed you the 5 biggest mistakes triathletes make with their swimming.

We’re going to take a look at mistake #5, swimming flat, and how to create change FAST.

First, we need to pick the best exercises to solve the problem.

We’re going to go with underwater recovery because it helps you learn to rotate AND it helps you learn to do it at the right time.

Most importantly, it’s very similar to normal freestyle, making it easier to take what you learn and transfer it to regular freestyle.

To make that transition even easier, we’ll incorporate Over-Under Freestyle, where you recover one arm over the water and one arm under.

It’s the perfect bridge.

We’re going to change speed, change stroke count, and use gear.

Then, we’re going to add in freestyle, using the same strategies.

Check out these 3 sets, all of which incorporate the key ideas.

There are 3 different sets, which will feel and BE very different, yet they’re all focused on the same goal using the same exercises.

You don’t need 15 different exercises to get results.

You don’t WANT 15 different exercises if you want to get results.

You want to perform the MOST effective exercise(s) in different contexts so you can learn.

And you want to constantly be swimming freestyle so that you can integrate what you’re experiencing in the exercises into your swimming, which is what really counts.

Just doing drills isn’t going to work.

If you want to take it to the next level in less time while using less effort, you’re going to need a better approach.

Give these ideas a shot and let me know how they go.

I love to hear about your progress.

Keep it simple…


Recent Posts

See All

Breathe Easy For As LONG As You’d Like

Doing drills is not going to lead to bulletproof breathing that holds up while racing. It’s not enough to just do some drills and call it good. You need a plan to be able to sustain great breathing fo


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page