4 Tips for Being a More Consistent Swimmer in Practice

Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer based out of Victoria, BC. In feeding his passion for swimming, he has developed YourSwimBook, a powerful log book and goal setting guide made specifically for swimmers. Sign up for the YourSwimBook newsletter (free) and get weekly motivational tips by clicking here.

Those who have achieved any measure of success in the pool understand that it is not by some large stroke (pun intended) of luck, or as a result of one or two amazing practices that they achieved something special. Rather, it’s the steady, consistent application of hard work that gets them to the top of the podium.

In that spirit, here are some tips for making you a consistently consistent swimmer in the pool this season:

1. Take the power back during your motivational lapses.

It sucks when you don’t feel motivated to train. But often what’s actually happening here is that you want two different and conflicting things, and you are being forced to make a decision between the two.

When we feel those lapses in motivation, and they happen to us all with varying frequency, we chalk it up to the unknown, to something so mysterious that it is unexplainable: “I don’t know why I don’t feel motivated to train today. I just don’t feel like it.”

Understanding that you have an option between two choices, and that it isn’t due to an unexplainable phenomenon gives you the realization that it is a decision that is holding you back, and not some weird, unexplainable lack of motivation.

2. Avoid going all-or-nothing.

When we have decided on a goal, and it’s new and fresh in our mind, we often fall into the trap of creating an all-or-nothing path moving forward. Either we are going to attend every practice, swim with perfect technique for every set, and kill it in the weight room or we may not do it all.

This go-for-broke is fun in a dramatic sense, and it makes for a good soundbite for a pre-race vignette on TV. (Read the following in your sports broadcaster’s voice of choice: “And then one day, in the fall of 2009 he decided that he’d had enough. He was going to abandon his old ways and become the superstar swimmer he always knew he’d become!”)

In reality, this isn’t how things go down. It’s little by little, through a maze of setbacks and confusion, that success and consistency happens. Avoid the all-or-nothing mentality by building up (read: start small and progress from there) to becoming the consistent, championship swimmer you want to be.

It’s little by little, through setbacks and confusion, that you become the swimmer you want to be. tweet this

3. When you fall, get back up quickly.

Victories, just like defeats, set a tone and create a momentum that is hard to describe. When we are swimming consistently, we are on cloud nine, as though nothing and no one can knock us off of our pedestal.

But when we stink up the pool a couple times in a row, all of a sudden those doubts start to flood in, we wonder if we have forever lost our stroke and ability, and all of our previous successes vanish into the atmosphere. When this happens, it is important to get back on track as soon as possible.

There will be trials and tribulations, but the consistent swimmer picks herself up right away when things get shaky. She doesn’t allow herself to be knocked off balance for an extended period of time due to what is almost always a minor setback.

The consistent swimmer picks themselves up quickly when things get shaky. tweet this

4. Make your goal to be consistent.

Sounds blatantly obvious, doesn’t it, but how many swimmers will admit that they have set this kind of goal for themselves?

I can understand why, when said aloud, “I want to be consistent!” it sounds like just about the most boring goal every spoken. It may as well be, “I want to be boring and bland!”

But alas, that is the secret. Success in the pool is boring. It’s consistency.

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Very nicely written article!! I will save this post and go back to it every 2 weeks or so.. it will definitely help keeping things in perspective


Consistency is the key, there are many times I dont feel like going swimming but I get on with it and go, those times are usually when I end up having a really good swim and enjoy it! You get so much out of it by just making that little bit of effort! 🙂

About Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy has been involved in competitive swimming for most of his life. Starting off at the age of 6 he was thrown in the water at the local pool for swim lessons and since then has never wanted to get out. A nationally top ranked age grouper as both a …

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