Less Is More: Genetic Testing for Faster Swimming

courtesy of James Fike, Founder and CEO of Fike Swim

At the best of times, swimming can feel like a “riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” We literally have an infinite number of options when show up for practice and we know that we will never pick the most beneficial one. Our best hope is to pick one in the category of “best options.” To do that, we need information, as much as we can get. Our body practically speaks to us, if we’ll listen, so that’s a great source. But our body is also holding secrets. This is where genetics comes in.

I recently sat down with Erica Beine of Beine Wellness Building to try to unlock my body’s secrets and take some of the guesswork out of coaching myself at the age of 40 (almost 41). We covered it all:

  • Training and where I fall on the sprint/endurance spectrum
  • Recovery and how much rest my body needs
  • Diet and which foods and drinks to focus on
  • Vitamins and which ones I’m not getting enough of

This has already changed how I train in the weight room (more on that soon) and the pool, and how I hydrate and prep for workouts. See the full conversation here:

Good luck with your training, SWIM DIFFERENT!

If you like this article and still want to know more, stay tuned to the Fike Swim:


About Fike Swim

“We design products exclusively for the toughest sport in the world.  We unapologetically place swimmers on a pedestal.  The rigors they embrace on a daily basis can only be understood by another swimmer and they deserve a company focused 100% on helping them succeed.  Whether you’re just starting out or training for Paris, we stand behind you.”
-James Fike, Founder

Fike Swim Products was born when founder James Fike put a brick on top of a kickboard and transformed just another legs-only kick set into a total body workout felt into the next day. Since then it’s been our mission to create unique swim equipment with the single-minded goal of making you faster. We don’t sell toys. We create tools to help you reach your potential.

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Marc Epstein
3 months ago

I am a 63 year old swimmer who probably swims “more” than he should and gets “less” out of it. The opposite of what James stands for. James has tried to modify my workouts (and has succeeded to a degree) to make my workouts a little more reasonable (see a prior Fike vlog). Old habits are hard to break.

My view on Erica and the testing program is as follows. Whether you get tested or not, I can’t think of a thing that Erica recommended that is bad idea. Better quality vitamins, proper eating – including what you eat and when you eat it, more effective training, pre and post race strategies, etc., all make sense to me WHETHER… Read more »

Trevor L
3 months ago

I feel the use of DNA testing is a game changer. It gives both, the coaches and athletes, the ability to tailor the way an individual athlete is able to train and recover. Knowing an individual’s unique genetic strengths and weakness adds a totally new dimension to training. Ultimately, maximizing performance and having greater success in avoiding an athlete’s worst enemy…. INJURY.
I have had the testing done. The comprehensiveness of the results is astonishing. To my surprise, the testing even identified specific physical issues that have been problems for years. I also learned the way I had been training in certain areas where I had always struggled were counterproductive. The information was presented in a way that was… Read more »

3 months ago

I found the entire 12 week program to be incredibly beneficial to my body and performance. Not only was I able to identify what my body was lacking in vitamins and nutrients, I had a better understanding as to how to optimize recovery, training, and performance through my unique genetic makeup. My results helped me understand how my body works and what I can do from a nutritional / behavioral standpoint to achieve my goals/ wellness. I now know how quickly I recover, what causes inflammation in my body, how my body absorbs vitamins, and so much more. This information is meant to be a guide towards optimizing your body’s needs and has evidence based on your genetics that are… Read more »

Reply to  Liz
3 months ago

what was the cost of the program?

Tina L
3 months ago

I personally have gone through the testing and the entire twelve week program. Erica and her staff are extremely knowledgeable. The changes I have made personally as well as my entire family (again genetics…you get it from somewhere) have made literally life changing differences. I no longer have migraines every month. I know how to supplement for me. My brain fog is GONE. My energy is higher than ever at 37 years old. And because I know so much more about myself personally, my weight has never been more stable. I see some negative comments here but I highly recommend to sign up for a free consult before you turn your nose up at this process. It may not be… Read more »

Erica Beine
3 months ago

James – thanks for sharing your journey in our 12 Week Program.

The reason we incorporate testing into our 12 week program which includes genetic and food sensitivity testing, is to consider lifestyle, current blood draw results, health, and family history all into the individual case of each client. We do not rely on solely genetic testing to produce recommendations as that would be very narrow in scope, however, it is a helpful tool as a piece of the entire puzzle at hand.

3 months ago

No scientific data/proof?

3 months ago

“There are, however, currently no scientific grounds for the use of genetic testing for athletic performance improvement, sport selection or talent identification. Athletes and coaches should be discouraged from using direct-to-consumer genetic testing because of its lack of validation and replicability and the lack of involvement of a medical practitioner in the process.”

Vlahovich N, Fricker PA, Brown MA, et alEthics of genetic testing and research in sport: a position statement from the Australian Institute of SportBritish Journal of Sports Medicine 2017;51:5-11.

Reply to  mcswammerstein
3 months ago

Adding to this, one of the value props being advertised is discovering if you have a MTHFR “mutation”, which any reputable source will tell you is quackery you don’t need to worry about.

Last edited 3 months ago by dewey

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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