Heed This, Ignore That: Swim Advice From The Pros

  • By Sara McLarty
  • Published Jan 16, 2014
  • Updated Feb 21, 2014 at 3:23 PM UTC

We asked a few of the top pros in the sport as well as some up-and-comers who have made significant swim gains to give us the best and worst swim advice they’ve received.

What piece of advice has significantly improved your swim?

Leanda Cave: “From my experience, clenched fists is the best drill. It helps you feel the water with your forearms and use them as a lever to pull through the water instead of relying on your hands.”

Sarah Haskins-Kortuem: “Don’t fight the water! Stay smooth and relaxed.”

Timothy O’Donnell: “Don’t look around the first 50–100 meters after the start. Focus on establishing a position in the field.”

Mitchell Kibby: “Have your coach or a friend take video of you in the water so you can see what you are doing. The difference between what you think you do and what you actually do will often surprise you!”

Alicia Kaye: “Always keep your stroke rate high to stay close to the feet in front of you and get the best draft.”

Gwen Jorgensen: “Focus on your catch by keeping your elbows above your wrist.”

RELATED: How Strong Is Your Swim Kick?

What popular advice do you recommend ignoring?

Lisa Bentley: “‘Distance per stroke’ is tough for an unsupervised non-swimmer. They just end up gliding too long, dropping the elbow, and developing a bad stroke.”

Alicia Kaye: “Don’t let anyone tell you to pull in a giant ‘S’ shape under the water.”

Jarrod Shoemaker: “Someone once said that it’s good to focus on the back half of your swim stroke as you will not have anybody hitting your hands during an open-water swim!”

Gwen Jorgensen: “I have been told so many times to basically just chase the clock.”

RELATED: What To Do When The Pool Is Packed

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