How to Master the Process of Becoming an Elite Swimmer

Michael Butler
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Master the Process, Master the Pool

Tip 1: Learn to “feel” the water

Some pros are good swimmers. Other swimmers are good athletes. To be an elite swimmer, you must combine both. To master the process, you must learn to “feel” the water. This all starts with posture.

Proper posture is a vital aspect of your stroke. For full body rotational swimming, a high elbow recovery is the most efficient means.

Learn to feel the water at the entry of your hand as it slides through it. The hand should be positioned vertically to allow for a vertical catch and an effective catch aided by the momentum of your body rotation. The feeling of vertical entry, high elbow, and vertical exit are the essentials for the proper catch position. The elbow should remain high until it is behind the body. The hand must be free of the water at all times.

Tip 2: Practice, Practice, Practice

There are a million and one different drills you can do to improve your technique. Mindless swimming only goes so far, and it takes real practice to get better. Work on your faults and weaknesses. If you had a bad 50 free, then that’s what you need to work on before the next swim meet. You may feel overwhelmed at first, but swim practice is all about the quality of the work you put in.

Reduces stress .

When you get in the pool, you’re always guaranteed a proper way to relieve stress. No matter how bad of a day you’ve had, just by entering the water, your body will immediately relax.

When you get in the pool, you’re always guaranteed a proper way to relieve stress. No matter how bad of a day you’ve had, just by entering the water, your body will immediately relax. It promotes teamwork. Swimming teams are always made up of competitors. These people learn how to improve and encourage each other’s progress. This helps you connect with people and gather new friends.

Swimming teams are always made up of competitors. These people learn how to improve and encourage each other’s progress. This helps you connect with people and gather new friends. It helps you work on your concentration skills. Swimmers need to sustain that concentration when they’re in the middle of training or in an actual race. They need to focus on their bodies and read their body’s response as they’re training, which is very important in competitive swimming.

You actually live the goal instead of chasing it .

Sprinting all-out until you’re completely exhausted is not a long-term, sustainable process. Your body’s not designed to take giant leaps, and it can’t keep accelerating. It is designed to bounce along at a small gradient for a long time.

Instead of pushing your body to the max every time, try swimming what I call the power pyramid: six hours every day in a 1:3 ratio.

In other words, the average is shorter when you swim 200 meters than when you swim 1,000. But you do just as much more per day if you swim 200 instead of 1,000.

If you swim a 20-minute workout every day with a 1:3 ratio, using 1,000-meter swims, that means you’re swimming 2,000 meters a day. You then add another two 1,000-meter swims during the day.

Confidence comes from the process .

You don’t go from bad swimmer to Olympian over night. Swimming is a lot like math: although you can try to memorize all the formulas before taking a test, it’s the practice and the process of learning that actually embeds information in your brain.

You can actually become a better swimmer by just focusing on improving the basic technique. And then once you’ve mastered the technique, you’ll find that you’re a lot more confident in the water and that you’re able to swim faster than you thought possible.

To get better at swimming, you need to take the time to break down each part of a stroke and practice. To improve from a bad swimmer to a good swimmer may take you somewhere around 10,000 yards, or 10,000 meters for some of the more competitive people out there!

Breaking down the process of improvement into small chunks is important because it feels more manageable, and it will make you more likely to persist.

You’ll end up working harder and enjoying the work more .

Research shows that by breaking things into smaller segments and by changing the focus of the training at different times during the training program, the swimmer will burn more calories and become a more efficient swimmer.

How Build a Routine for Success in the Water

If you want to become successful in the water, you have to build a successful swimming routine into your schedule. Consistent workouts will help you build the detailed skills and stamina you need to become a serious swimmer.

Before building your routine, consider choosing a stroke to focus on. If you haven’t settled on one, you should try each stroke to see which one works best for you. When you decide on one, stick with it while you build your routine.

Next, you’ll want to start with some swimming workouts. Some of the best workouts to start with are easy but effective. For example, if you don’t want to swim a full distance, just set a goal to swim a small distance and be sure to push yourself to the finish. Pace yourself and focus on consistent swimming.

Swim at least 2-3 times a week. During each session, you should engage in different types of swimming. Consider mixing in sprints, treading water, kicking, pulling, and doing other specific skills. You should also experiment with different lengths of workouts.

At the beginning, you can start with a 20-minute workout. Once you’re used to that, you can build up to 30, 40 or 60 minutes. As you build overall endurance, try to add speed to your workouts or swim longer distances.

Have a plan.

Once this thought is in your mind, you will need to establish a plan both of what you want to improve, but also an objective as to how you plan to accomplish this. You need to be specific, it needs to be measurable, and you have to be able to evaluate how well you actually did it.

Let’s say that you want to get your 200 freestyle down. The plan you have to reach the objective should include your daily practice drill. In this case it is probably best to start easy and target the strokes rather than the whole race.

For the purpose to learn how to master the process of becoming an elite swimmer in a pool there are some drills that can help you:

The drill: stopwatch

This is an easy drill that you can do on your own in your hotel room. Always start by getting to a push up position and then go straight to the sidestroke. Start freestyle again, get back to the push up position again, stop, change into the sidestroke again. Repeat this process as many times as you can. As you gradually get better and better at it, the time between each push up and swimming till you are ready to stand up again will become exponentially shorter.

The drill: The lap.

Have measurable things to do .

This is one of the basic and effective basic ways to manage yourself as well as others. When you decide to practice, set up specific goals for various kinds of stroke. Have it with you on a tape or a cd. Start with 25-50m per session and swim the same course over and over. Make sure to keep your pace even without exerting too much effort.

Determine your time for a few laps and try to achieve that targeted time. This is your measure of your goal.

Doing it this way will help you focus on your goal. You will always remember where you have left off and can concentrate on improving your time for future practices.

Celebrate the little wins .

Little victories and daily progress are an important part of the training process and give you something to look forward to in the overall process. Because of the repetitive nature of swimming training, it’s easy to get discouraged if you don’t see any progress or if you tend to be a perfectionist. So, have some pride in the little aspects of your training that you mastered. Celebrate your wins. Pat yourself on the back. Do whatever you need to do to keep your motivation high.

Make your goals effort and consistency .

If you have to choose between effort and consistency in the beginning … go with consistency. It’s easy to start out strong and then coast off. Have an “every single day” commitment to the process of improving. Consistency is how you develop the habits you need to succeed. When you’re consistent, you can then work on increasing your effort. Don’t be surprised if working on your consistency leads to more effort being required. If you try to change too much too quickly, you won’t see any progress at all.

Get feedback from your coach .

A good swimming coach is an invaluable asset to any swimmer wanting to improve their times. And getting feedback is essential for swimmers to reach their racing potential. If you don’t incorporate this step into your training program, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to swim your fastest.

Your coach can make suggestions about the following aspects of your swimming:

  • Your warm-up, cool-down, and warm-down distance.
  • The number and length of your swims.
  • Your tempo or stroke rate.
  • The number of distance-specific workouts per week.
  • Your interval workouts.
  • Your speed sets.
  • Your turns.
  • Your stroke placement.
  • Your kick.
  • Your swimming form.
  • Your stroke rate.
  • Your training regimen.
  • Your diet.
  • Your recovery time.
  • Your breathing.