Swim Type 6: The Smooth

Everybody wants to be a smooth but even their stroke will benefit from a tune-up

The Smooth


The Smooth can be male or female and has an excellent swimming background. They appear to be perfect in the water and to exert very little effort whilst cruising past their opponents. Their stroke may require some adaptations to perform at their potential in open water.

How To Spot One:

  • Only ever found in the top lane.
  • Silky smooth stroke.
  • Good rotation and high elbows.
  • Seems to move effortlessly through the water.
  • May spend slightly too long in front of the mirror.

Quick Facts:

  • Moves seemingly effortlessly and gracefully through the water with a long stroke.
  • Excellent body position, rotation and normally a high elbow recovery.
  • A tendency towards a fairly strong six beat kick.
  • Swims from 1:25 to sub 1:00 per 100m
  • Recommends wet shaving.


Confident in their ability but may lack motivation. Having grown up with a strong swimming background, confidence in the water and in their ability is high. May lack motivation if they have swum at a high level for a long time and so requires fun and stimulating swim sets.

Smooth Common Characteristics:

  • Excellent body position, rotation and normally a high elbow recovery over the water.
  • A long stroke with a low stroke-per-length count.
  • Relaxation above the water is excellent, giving the impression of everything being easy for the Smooth type.
  • A slightly slow stroke rate which is to their disadvantage in open water versus specialists in this area.
  • Smooths may appear to glide at the front of the stroke but this is not the case when swimming properly. When viewed from under the water their hands are always in motion – either extending forwards, tipping the fingertips downwards or commencing the catch. This much higher skill level is a critical difference from the Overglider type.
  • The Smooth type often has a reasonably strong six beat kick. This is not to be confused with the Kicktastic type, where arm propulsion is poor. The Smooths have a great kick and great arm propulsion.
  • Swimming speed is typically 0:47 to 1:20 per 100m.

Stroke Correction Guides

If you are a Smooth type, our specific Stroke Correction Guide for you includes everything you need to tune up your stroke and get you back to your very best. We won’t waste your time on unnecessary areas: the four training sessions are highly focused on getting your feel for the water to back elite level. If you’ve been out of the water for a while don’t worry, you’ll soon polish up again with these four focused sessions. The guide is supplied as a digital download straight to your computer. In Acrobat format you can read it on your computer or print it out for easier reference. Find out more here.
Swim Smooth’s Swim types:

SMOOTH Stroke Correction & Training Guide

Gap The Field

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

Areas To Work On:

  • A general technique and form maintenance program will ensure that their smooth stroke is maintained.
  • Develop enhanced catch and feel for the water with an emphasis on increasing stroke rate a little.
  • If racing in open water or triathlon some stroke adaptation may be required – specifically an increase in stroke rate to punch through waves and chop.
  • On top of technique work, a strong and focused specific swim conditioning program is essential – a variety of swim sets that tap into the key aspects of performance physiology (i.e. threshold and VO2 Max).

Swim Smooth’s Animated Swimmer ‘Mr Smooth’

Mr Smooth – Our ‘Ideal’ freestyle stroke visualisation. See him in action here.

If you haven’t met Mr Smooth yet, be sure to check him out on Swim Smooth’s main site. He’s our amazing visualisation of an ideal freestyle stroke – and the perfect representation of the Smooth Swim Type. You can improve your swimming just by watching him in action. Over 250,000 swimmers have downloaded the animation to their computer to view his ‘ideal’ freestyle stroke from any angle at any speed in amazing clarity. Don’t miss out yourself!