This post was originally published over at YourSwimBook.com. Join Olivier’s weekly motivational newsletter for swimmers by clicking here. Originally published 1/17
1. Streamline. When you push off and you are diving into the water you are moving at lightspeed. Pack your arms and elbows in and keep that speed going for as long as possible.
2. Pop out of your breakouts. Explode out of your streamline into your first couple strokes. Good training habits matter.
3. Do one thing better today. Excellence doesn’t happen in fell swoops; do one thing better today than you did yesterday. Repeat as necessary.
4. Forget best times. Develop a routine and a schedule that leaves no choice but success.
5. Sleep more. Yes, it’ll require managing your time. But it’s worth the recovery and rest. Among the things you can do to recover and swim faster sleeping more is the easiest.
6. Surround yourself with like-minded athletes. Fast swimmers create a big wake. You can either surf it and go along for the ride or let the wave swallow you.
7. Stay ahead of injuries. Getting hurt will happen. Swimmer’s shoulder, in particular. Stay ahead of them by implementing a fast and simple pre-hab routine.
8. Don’t complain. It serves nothing. It’s not fair for others too.
9. Count your strokes. Swimming fast requires swimming with efficiency. Step one is knowing how many strokes you are taking per lap.
10. Count your fly kicks too. How many underwater dolphin kicks are you doing off each wall? Two? Three? Set a minimum threshold and stick to it.
11. Maximize your time in the pool. You don’t necessarily need more workouts, you need to be more focused with what you already have.
12. Don’t worry about what other swimmers are doing. At the end of the day, it’s You vs. You. No one else.
See Also: Swimming Goggles: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know
13. Hammer your weaknesses. There are areas of your training you avoid because you “suck” at them. Punish them with consistent attention.
14. Challenge yourself. Break out of your comfort zone. Try that breathing pattern. Do an off-stroke for the main set. Reach a little further.
15. Be grateful. We get to swim. Remember that especially when times are tough.
16. Master the fundamentals. Whenever you are struggling, go back to basics. Technique, consistency, attitude.
17. Be the swimmer you want to be daily. Being that awesome swimmer doesn’t happen at the end of the season. It happens today with your attitude, preparation and habits.
18. You won’t always feel like it. Do what has to be done even when you don’t “feel like” doing it.
19. Train around injuries. One of the benefits of swimming? If your legs are out of commish, get some pull in. Shoulder down for the count? Strap on some fins and do some vertical kick.
20. Have a plan. When you have a plan for your swimming you are more likely to walk on deck with purpose and focus.
21. Be the influence you want to be. What’s your idea of a perfect teammate? There’s no reason you can’t embody those characteristics yourself. A rising tide raises all ships (and especially yours).
22. Learn from your mistakes. It’s human nature to trip up in recurring ways. When you break the pattern and crack the chains of your habitual missteps you create an environment for massive momentum.
23. Work hard. You can’t control talent. Or genetics. But you know what you have control over? Effort.
24. Tackle big things one small step at a time. Olympians aren’t built overnight. Aim for progression and improvement, not overnight results.
25. Track the things that are mission-critical. If it matters to your swimming, you should be logging and tracking it. Period.
26. Keep things as simple as possible. Instead of drawing up a laundry list of 100 things you want to improve start with one thing. Nail it. And then move on to the next thing. When we complicate things we get overwhelmed.
27. Perfection vs. Excellence. Greatness comes with blemishes, setbacks and disappointments. It’s okay for things not to go perfectly.
28. Ignore the naysayers. Challenging goals are hard enough, nevermind in the face of unqualified criticism. Block ’em out.
29. Go the extra mile. If you do the same as everyone else, you will get the same results as everyone else too. Don’t be afraid to push things a little further.
30. Train like you wanna race. Don’t wait until race day to swim with the tempo, technique and speed you want. These are things that are developed during practice.
31. Refuse to wait. Your goals will not wait for you. Tomorrow is already a day too late.
32. Do what you say you will do. Keep your commitments with your team, your coach, and yourself. When you keep your word it builds integrity, which powers the belief that you can achieve big things.
33. Be coachable. We don’t know it all. Be humble enough to know when you are coming up short. Listen to constructive criticism with an open mind.
34. Be the example. Actions will always have more impact than all the talk in the world.
35. Be deserving of success. Yes, you deserve it just as much as the next swimmer. So why not you?
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