7 Things Fast Swimmers Do That You Should Do Too

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.

Successful swimmers in various forms abound all around us. From the masters swimmer in his 60’s continually crushing best times, to the up-and-coming age grouper, to the international games podium toppers.

What can we learn from these swimmers who perform at a consistently high level?

As it turns out, lots—here are just a few that you can apply to your own swimming:

1. Get up after you get beat down.

Mike Tyson once quipped, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” While he was talking about the sting of a boxer’s glove, it’s equally applicable to the bite and disappointment that comes with coming up short on a goal.

Will you be the swimmer that allows failure to define them, or will you be the athlete who uses it as a springboard to bigger and better things?

2. Put action to your dreams.

Dreaming and planning are easy. They are safe, and give you the illusion of making progress towards your goals without actually having to do anything. Goals are great, but without meaningful and consistent action they are wishes.

So many swimmers talk about the crazy-awesome things they would like to accomplish in the water. Much fewer actually go through with trying to make it happen.

SEE ALSO: How to Prepare for the Big Meet

3. Hold yourself accountable.

At the end of the day, the way you perform is on your shoulders. Sure, it’s easy to blame the pool, your coach, or the nine Nutella sandwiches you had 2 minutes before your race.

But the reality is this:

The overwhelming majority of the influence behind how you do—whether you trained your butt off at practice, paid attention to the details, streamlined your life outside the pool, and so on—are things you have power over.

4. Stare hard work in the face and be unmoved.

The swimmers I respected most during my swimming career weren’t necessarily the fastest in the pool. It was the handful of athletes who showed up every day and were unmoved by the main sets our coaches would scrawl up on the board.

It wasn’t indifference, but that they were mentally tough enough to not be intimidated by the work ahead.

They trusted themselves enough to know they would be okay, and as such, didn’t feel the need to sigh loudly, or complain, or give anything less than their best effort in practice.

5. Pick a path, and stick to it.

The appeal behind shortcuts is understandable:

Less work and more results? Where do I sign up!

The problem with the shortcut culture we live in now is that hard work and the long game have been forsaken for promises of quick fixes and easier (designed as “smarter”) methods.

How often have you decided to improve an aspect of your swimming—diet for example—gone all-in for a couple weeks, and then started the inevitable Googling of easier or more appealing alternatives?

6. Do your part to develop a culture that fosters awesomeness.

You know the swimmer—that kid in your lane who complains through the whole workout.

Who cheats and talks smack about the workout/coach/lifeguard’s makeup to the point that you cannot help but start getting sucked into the cesspool of negativity by the end of practice.

Being a positive and encouraging teammate is the cheapest and easiest investment you can make into your own success.

Be the positive voice in the middle of the storm. Be the encouraging voice to the youngsters.

Not only will it create a better environment to train in, but the support will come back to you five-fold.

7. Be deliberate with your training.

“If you work hard, you’ll be successful!”

In a lot of ways this is totally true, but you need to be a little smarter than that.

Anyone can go to the pool, bang out an ugly 4,000 meters and say, “There, worked hard! Now gimme my success please.” To get supremely good requires you to work hard and to work smart.

When you are working your butt off and doing it with purpose and focus, that is the point you will become unstoppable in the water.

About YourSwimBook

YourSwimBook is a log book and goal setting guide designed specifically for competitive swimmers. It includes a ten month log book, comprehensive goal setting section, monthly evaluations to be filled out with your coach, and more. Learn 8 more reasons why this tool kicks butt.

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6 years ago

I agree with the points; just not necessarily with the point that “fast” swimmers use them while others do not. I know many very fast swimmers who slack off in practice, are not particularly motivated to give their all to the sport, and do not contribute to a solid team atmosphere. On the other hand (especially as a now masters swimmer) I know some that commit to practice daily, have a great attitude and are willing to learn, but never develop into “fast swimmers” – just into swimmers who love to swim.

7 years ago


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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