Olympic Champion Cody Miller’s Favorite Tool for Developing Mental Toughness

Mentally tough swimmers are fast swimmers. Here’s Olympic champion Cody Miller’s favorite tool for swimmers looking to get mentally tougher.

Mental toughness is one of the key characteristics of elite swimmers.

Getting up on the blocks, in front of thousands, requires a level of mental toughness and resilience that we view with awe.

But mental toughness isn’t just for Olympic champions. It’s something we all value, both in the pool and in regular life.

We’ve all had moments in the pool where we demonstrated a level of mental toughness that took us by surprise:

  • Surviving Hell Week, attending every practice, and even swimming a near-PB at the end of that grueling stretch of training.
  • Doing an interval that at one time we thought was impossible or way out of our reach.
  • Swimming back-to-back races in competition, going best times in both events despite feeling like we were eating a lactic acid sandwich by the end of the second race.
  • Going toe-to-toe with a faster swimmer in practice and not yielding an inch during the main set.

And so on.

These moments where we surprised ourselves with our capacity boosted confidence, made us rethink what was possible in the water, and of course, pushed us closer to achieving our big goals.

Mental toughness is one of the most important things you will learn and improve in the water, and yet, for most swimmers, it’s something they leave entirely to chance.

Maybe you think mental toughness is something only elite swimmers have. Or mental toughness is totally genetic. Or that because past attempts to get mentally tougher didn’t go so well, you think it is something you can never fix.

But as one Olympian notes, mental toughness is something you can choose to work on and improve.

Cody Miller’s Favorite Tool for Building Mental Toughness

If you have an internet connection, you’ve likely stumbled upon across Cody Miller’s YouTube channel.

He posts videos that demonstrate the life of a pro swimmer, from taking care of himself between practices by foam rolling and stretching to footage of his main sets with his Indiana teammates.

Recently, he reviewed Conquer the Pool: The Swimmer’s Ultimate Guide to a High-Performance Mindset.

Miller had a few takeaways he took from the book, which is presently used by his club team, the Sandpipers of Nevada.

(Both his age group coach and his current coach at Indiana, Ray Looze, provided feedback and input during the creation of the book.)

Here are a couple of quotes from Miller’s review of Conquer the Pool:

  • “This book is really, really beneficial for swimmers looking to elevate their game.”
  • “At the end of the day it’s all about mental toughness, it’s all about building what’s in here so that when you’re behind the block you are 100% the most prepared, the most mentally tough, the most locked in that you can possibly be, and this book is filled with insight from some of the best swimmers in the world.”
  • “It’s something that I recommend, this kind of thing is really awesome.”
  • “This is exactly the kind of stuff that I love.”

You can view the excerpt of the review in the YouTube clip below:

How Conquer the Pool Will Help You Swim Like a Monster This Year

Although Miller is an Olympic champion swimmer, the book is designed to help swimmers of all ages and abilities sharpen their mindset in the pool.

(Truthfully, I wrote the book with the 12-year old age group swimmer version of myself in mind.)

The book takes the confusing, complicated mental side of the sport and breaks it down so that you can start taking actionable steps towards becoming a mentally tougher swimmer in the water.

Swimmers learn things like:

  • The proper way to set goals in the water that are realistic and ambitious. Awesome goals walk a fine line between being super ambitious (but not so ambitious that it leaves you feeling overwhelmed) and realistic (but not so easy that it is boring).
  • How to manage the discomfort that comes with working your butt off in the water. Pushing yourself each day at practice is tough. Most swimmers pull up short with their effort during the main set because they fear the discomfort. The book teaches you the difference between discomfort and pain, and gives you strategies to “embrace the suck.”
  • How to unleash your best performance on race day. Ultimately, all the hard work is with one purpose in mind—to swim like a complete rock star on race day. Whether you’ve struggled with choking, fear of failure, or getting intimidated by the competition, this book gives you a clear and actionable blueprint for dominating your performances on race day.

And much, much more.

Learn more below about how Conquer the Pool will help you unlock pro levels of mental toughness in the pool this year.


Conquer the Pool Mental Training Book for SwimmersOlivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer and author of the recently published mental training workbook for competitive swimmers, Conquer the Pool: The Swimmer’s Ultimate Guide to a High-Performance Mindset.

It combines sport psychology research, worksheets, and anecdotes and examples of Olympians past and present to give swimmers everything they need to conquer the mental side of the sport.

Ready to take your mindset to the next level?

Click here to learn more about Conquer the Pool.

COACHES: Yuppers–we do team orders of “Conquer the Pool” which include a team discount as well as complimentary branding (your club logo on the cover of the book) at no additional charge.

Want more details? Click here for a free estimate on a team order of CTP.

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1 month ago

Hmmm. I wonder where does this guy trained and developed his greatness?? God bless The Great Indiana University and the GOAT, Ray Looze!

1 month ago

Illegal dolphin kicks, perhaps?

Hunter Wants His Laptop Back
1 month ago

I like Cody’s mental toughness. He DQ’d a relay at Pan Ams last year, but he stepped up and owned it. That’s an admirable character trait. Good luck, Cody!

Reply to  Hunter Wants His Laptop Back
1 month ago

I mean… what else could he have done other than own it? It was his mistake, there was no way he couldn’t own up to it. NOT A CODY HATER, I’M JUST STATING FACTS.

Hunter Wants His Laptop Back
Reply to  leisurely1:29
1 month ago

Cody made an 8’ long video showing his anguish over the DQ. That’s significantly more than just saying “Sorry.”

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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