Swim Types: Frequently Asked Questions
Relevant link: The Swim Types Concept
There are many possible stroke faults in freestyle, for example holding your breath, lifting your head, kicking from the knee and swimming flat without body roll. If every swimmer had a random collection of faults there would be millions of combinations and every swimmer would be pretty much unique. However when you study a lot of swimmers you soon see how these stroke faults cluster together in common ways - forming the six Swim Types.
Of course, any swimmer exhibits further idiosyncrasies over and above their type, so strictly speaking every swimmer is completely unique. It is also true to say that some swimmers fit their type better than others - so we say someone's a 'Classic Arnie' or a 'Classic Swinger' when they fit their type perfectly.
Despite this, The Types are very fundamental and the system offers huge insight to individual swimmers and their coaches. The methods in the Stroke Correction Guides for each type are extremely well refined and proven - even to the point of each guide being suited to the personality of the type!
Think of Swim Types as an additional insight for swimmers and coaches which sits comfortably alongside mainstream swim coaching.
Yes, Swim Types is still relevant to you, although you may find you don't have enough experience of your swimming yet to answer many questions on the Swim Type Questionnaire. As a beginner swimmer it's very likely you're either a Bambino or an Arnie swim type. We suggest you start by looking at their profiles and see which makes most sense for your stroke.
Swim Types recognises that swimmers have a strong tendency towards their type based on build, height, age, personality and experience. Based on these individual factors, the Swim Type Guides show you the way to develop your stroke bit by bit. The process is evolution, not revolution.
The path to improvement isn't to tear up your current style and wake up tomorrow and swim like the Smooth type. This would be extraordinarily difficult and it's very likely you would end up slower, less efficient and plain frustrated.
Instead, the way to improve your swimming is to understand exactly where you are now, what you need to work on and how to move forwards. Swim Types gives you that insight.
Yes, in fact we originally developed the Swim Type system to train coaches. Swim Types allows coaches to quickly identify a swimmers type and then gives them high quality, tried and tested methods to improve their stroke technique. Any coach can spot individual problems with a swimmer's stroke but what do you tackle first? What is cause and what's effect? Swim Types gives coaches clear effective methods to refer to, whatever type and ability level of swimmer they are working with. Find out more about how Swim Types helps coaches here.
We offer a special Coaches Pack containing all our Stroke Correction Guides for all six types.
The Smooth Type is what swimmers have traditionally aspired to be. Their long smooth strokes move them seemingly effortlessly through the water. Extremely talented swimmers such as Alexander Popov and Ian Thorpe typify this type.
However, the Swinger type, particularly when combined with a 2-beat kick is arguably as quick, especially for medium to shorter height swimmers. Many of the middle and distance freestyle greats - such a Laure Manadou and Janet Evans have a refined Swinger style. Notable male examples are Ky Hurst and David Davis.
Yes, it is possible to have a cross between types. This most commonly happens to Bambinos as they develop - rather than developing their catch and feel for the water (which would be ideal) they often tend to develop a stronger kick, becoming quite Kicktastic.
However, it is far more likely that you belong to a single type - before coming to another conclusion, study the video clips and descriptions on the type pages. Also carefully check how you filled in the Swim Type Questionnaire. The more accurate answers you can give to the questions the better the quality of the results.
This is a common misconception, unfortunately. A long stroke is a good thing up to a point but when you go so far as introducing glide, this harms your efficiency. One reason for this efficiency loss is that you decelerate between strokes and then have to re-accelerate on the next which is very hard work. Find out more on the main Swim Smooth website here.
Yes, very much so. Interestingly, the distribution between the types is a little different. The younger the swimmer, the more likely they are to be Kicktastic - to the point where at age eight and under, nearly all kids are Kicktastic. In the more older junior age groups, e.g. 13-16, there are many Swingers and Smooth types too.
Swingers tend to carry a few classic stroke faults such as a hurried catch, thumb first entry and poor core control. Once they have removed these faults they can be very quick indeed, despite the key difference between Swingers and the Smooth type remaining in place - a shorter stroke at a faster stroke rate.
Swim Smooth has individually consulted with thousands of swimmers over the course of our history from beginners learning to swim, right up to Olympic athletes. This gives us a huge breadth of experience. Our coaches also run twelve weekly squads in Perth, totalling around two hundred swimmers. We work closely with our squad swimmers, tracking and developing their strokes over the long term which gives us a huge depth of experience.
It is very rare for a swimming company to be actively running squads, consulting individually and operating international swimming clinics. This insight has lead us to the develop the Swim Type system.
Not answered your question? Email us and ask!
Swim Smooth are proud to have been selected as Coaching Consultants to the British Triathlon Federation
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about swim smooth
Hi there and welcome to Swim Smooth! You know, when I left England in 2001 and became head coach to Australia's largest triathlon club, I encountered a frustrating problem. I felt we were doing a great job of improving our swimmers' strokes and were getting some brilliant race results but there was never enough time to properly explain the methods we were using to our squad swimmers.
My solution was to produce our first Stroke Correction DVD and Swim Smooth was born. It was an instant hit with our swimmers and then with a wider audience around the world.
That was way back in 2004. Since then as Swim Smooth has grown, we've been careful to nurture what's important to us: an individual approach to stroke correction (because everyone's bodies vary considerably, as you might have noticed!); an open minded sharing philosophy (please take a good look around the site); and a solid foundation of coaching methods from elite swimming and triathlon. But our greatest goal is true to the original concept: to clearly show you, the swimmer, how to improve your swimming whatever your level.
I have a request for you: if you enjoy and benefit from Swim Smooth, please spread the word about us. If you have any suggestions, queries or feedback for the Swim Smooth team, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org - we'd love to hear from you.
Enjoy your time in the water!
Head Coach, Swim Smooth