Swim Type 4: The Overglider

The biggest thinkers in the sport but they have gone down a cul de sac with their stroke

The Overglider


The Overglider can be male or female but with one common trait – a very conscientious approach towards developing their swimming technique! Their stroke is typically long but contains too much glide and has a distinct dead-spot within its timing.

Quick Facts:

  • A very smooth stroke
  • A distinct glide and dead-spot in the stroke timing
  • Often feels short of breath as it’s so long between strokes
  • Concentrates hard when swimming
  • Swims around 2:20 to 1:35 per 100m

How To Spot One:

  • Often tall male swimmers
  • A distinct pause at the front of the stroke
  • Slow stroke rate, often below 50 strokes per minute
  • Loves pull buoy sets
  • Struggles to breathe bilaterally
  • Commonly drops the wrist at the front of the stroke – “putting on the brakes”.


Serious and thoughtful about improving their swimming.

The most conscientious swimmer of all, having read all the books and watched all the Youtube videos on how to improve their swimming.

Tends to treat swimming as a serious technical exercise.

Overglider Common Characteristics:

  • A long and smooth stroke when viewed from above the water but often with a very slow stroke rate which lacks rhythm and flow. A clear dead-spot is always present, normally at the front of the stroke at full extension.
  • Typically breathes every two strokes to one preferred side (unilateral breathing) with distinctly more rotation to the breathing side.
  • Lack of rotation to the non-breathing side causes non-breathing arm to sweep round the side of the swimmer rather than over the top.
  • Very common to see lead hand extending forwards and the palm pushing against the water “applying the brakes”.
  • Straight arm catch and pull pushing down on the water rather than pressing it backwards. This is fundamentally linked to the dead-spot as a better bent elbow catch technique would remove the dead-spot and naturally lift stroke rate.
  • Overgliders often have a pronounced scissor kick due to a loss of balance whilst gliding.
  • Low stroke rate and big dead spots gives a tendency to stall between strokes causing a loss of efficiency. This is worsened in open water where cramped or choppy conditions further stall the Overglider.
  • Typical swimming speed is 1:30 to 2:20 per 100m.

Glide Is A Dirty Word

Swim Smooth believe that glide is a dirty word in swimming because it encourages swimmers to stop, pause and do nothing at the front of their stroke. This is very bad for your rhythm and timing and greatly harms your catch.

Introducing glide to make your stroke as long as is humanly possible has led many swimmers down a stroke technique cul-de-sac.

If you have glide in your stroke it will feel strange at first when you remove it. Don’t let this put you off: you’ll soon notice improved swimming efficiency as the increased stroke rate starts to feel good.

The Overglider’s lead hand has been trained to pause out front in a dead position.

We’re 92.8% certain that Spock is an Overglider.

Stroke Correction Guides

If you are an Overglider, our full guide to improving your swimming includes detailed analysis, explanations and advice on developing your stroke. We include all the specific drills, methods and visualisations you need and four full training sessions to follow, all specific to your unique needs.

The 20 page guide is supplied as a digital download straight to your computer in PDF format – order now and in minutes you’ll be getting the insight you need to take your swimming to the next level. Find out more here.

Swim Smooth’s Swim Types:

Overglider Stroke Correction & Training Guide

Get The Improvements You Deserve!

Download our full stroke development and stroke training guide for the Overglider Swim Type

Areas To Work On:

  • Development of a better catch and pull through technique is essential for the Overglider. Not only will this increase propulsion, it will act to remove the dead-spot.
  • Improved rhythm, timing and flow is a must for the Overglider. They should be looking to lift their stroke rate by 3 to 8 strokes per minute.
  • Once stroke rate has been lifted slightly this gives the opportunity to breathe bilaterally and so naturally develop more symmetry in the stroke.


An Overglider’s determination to be good at swimming is a definite strength. Once they have intellectual buy-in to the removal of glide from their stroke they can make rapid progress.

A combination of increased stroke rate and improved catch technique can rapidly improve their swimming efficiency and move them progressively towards the Smooth Type.

Waves and chop from other swimmers can easily stall the Overglider during their glide phase, meaning they tend to under perform in open water.

Slightly from left of field, a waterproof MP3 player such as a Finis Duo can be very useful for an Overglider as it helps them switch off from over-thinking and simply focus on stroke rhythm.

Do You Know An Overglider?

Overgliders are competent swimmers who are often stuck on a plateau. Take a look under the water and watch for a dead spot at the front of their stroke, often accompanied by a dropped wrist, showing the palm forwards momentarily. They might also be quiet and thoughtful in their approach to swimming.

Please let them know about this site! It’s often much easier to recognise traits in others than ourselves so give them a quick prompt in this direction and let us get to work on removing their dead spots and improving their rhythm and timing.

Find out more.