Swim Types: Frequently Asked Questions

Fire Away!

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 wry 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 written in a style to suit the personality of the type!

Think of Swim Types as an additional insight for swimmers and coaches which sits comfortably alongside mainstream swim coaching

We’re all different and when we swim we’re different again.

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 are 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 very much evolution, not revolution. In fact you may be best suited to the Swinger style, not Smooth!

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.

Type 6. Smooth Irritatingly Good.

Yes, in fact we originally developed the Swim Type system to train coaches. Swim Types allows coaches to quickly identify a swimmer’s 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, Janet Evans and Gregario Paltrinieri have a refined Swinger style.

Swingers can be extremely rapid indeed.

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.

Arnies who have worked on straightening out and lengthening their stroke often develop some Overglider characteristics too.

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.

Overglide and you lose efficiency, not gain it.

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 older junior age groups, e.g. 13-16, there are many Swingers and Smooth types too.

Yes absolutely, when their strokes are well developed. In fact many of the Freestyle greats such as Laure Manadou and Janet Evans have a refined Swinger style and have set many world records between them.

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 weekly squads in Perth, totalling over three 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.

Thousands of hours of coaching has brought us to this point.

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