Top swimming tips from an Olympic coach

By Su

swimming tipsEleven years ago in Athens 2004 a young Michael Phelps swam eight events, winning eight medals and six goal medals. This is a pretty impressive feat considering the amount of preliminary race and semi-finals need to do this. But it is obvious that both him and his coach, although satisfied, are convinced that they could better his performance. So, they set a goal for Phelps to get eight gold medals at Beijing in 2008. He succeeded gracefully. Many were envious, others were motivated and more took it upon themselves to make them a promise that they would be an Olympian one day. This swimming success does not come easy. It takes hard work, commitment, focus and drive but here are a few swimming tips to help you on your way from Thanyapura’s Head Coach Miguel Lopez, who has coached several Olympians and Paralympians to medals.

For Miguel, he knows from experience that all coaches work with the belief that the best accomplishments start within the heart. This desire to succeed is not a logical decision, rather it is an inspiration that feeds the soul and keeps us going for hours, days, weeks and years until we reach success. But this success seemed impossible one generation ago, well at least to that person it did. As a coach, we believe that our swimmers and we know how far they can go if they strive for success.

But there is a lot more to take into consideration than just motivation and a good mindset when trying to become an elite swimmer. Here are Miguel’s top swimming tips that most, if not all, Olympians have experienced before rising to success. Get on board with these swimming tips now.

10 Swimming Tips to Help you Succeed

  • Train at least 20 hours per week for at least ten years – Studies have proven that to master a skill you need to put in at least 10,000 hours of training in your lifetime. This works out as an average of 20 hours per week but get this, for 20 years!! Yes, that is right. Success does not come overnight. It takes time and patience. Olympians normally train at least 10 times a week, which can mean twice per day for six days per week. And when they are in a camp period they will do more – three sessions of at least two hours every day. Sounds tiring? But that is how they get to that finish line and succeed. You have to push your body every day. One good session is not the definition of a good swimmer – to me, it does not even equal a good day! You need two good sessions a day to make a good day and six good days make a good week. Four good weeks make a good month, 12 good months make a good year. Do this ten times, have ten good years, then you have a real chance to being an elite swimmer. Don’t be put off by this though. Everyone has to start somewhere.
  • Be patient and prepared – There have been hundreds of swimmers, like Jessica Vall, who year in, year out fail to finish at their expected level in an international level. But for Jessica, even though she didn’t achieve what she wanted her love for swimming never went away. While she got on with her life, some devastating news brought her back to pool more motivated than ever. At 24, her husband was diagnosed with a heart condition. So, she went to the pool to take her mind off her problems. During this time, she increased the intensity of her swim training, while continuing to work elsewhere. In Kazan, at the FINA World Championships, this summer Jessica managed to get a national record and win the bronze medal in the 200m breaststroke. Don’t stop pushing yourself, you never know what you can succeed when you have that motivation.
  • Accept constructive criticism – this is one of the most important swimming tips. You need to take feedback from coaches but don’t take this personally or negatively. But don’t allow others to control what you know you are capable of. It can be so discouraging to hear someone that you respect telling you that your goal is unreachable. Michael Phelps’s Coach spoke out last month, after training him for more than 20 years and said: “I didn’t even know these changes were possible”. The moral of this story is that if that if the best coach in the world does not know what will happen for the best swimmer in the world after a long time, don’t let anyone convince you of your “supposed” limits. You must be realistic but always stay ambitious.
  • Focus, focus and focus – Successful swimmers put words into actions. They know they want to be a great swimmer, swim a certain time, qualify for a meet, but the thing is they don’t just stop there. They go out and they do it! Elite swimmers use every moment they have to chase their goals and dreams and know that starting tomorrow is just too late.
  • The journey is more important than the result – This journey is what creates the swimmer and the results, whether good or bad, are just a reflection of what a swimmer can achieve by training and learning every day. Keep enthusiastic, following these swimming tips, through your swimming journey by following these swimming tips.
  • Have passion, desire and a will – where there is a will, there is a way is the famous saying and this is one of the main swimming tips that I give to my swimmers. Great swimmers are stubborn and resilient because they want to keep their word they made to themselves.
  • Look for solutions to your problems, not excuses – You can spend all day talking about your aching muscles, or how you feel sick but it won’t get you anywhere. Elite swimmers find a way to get through these challenges and don’t complain. Complaining doesn’t bring you closer to your goals.
  • Be proactive – the best swimmers are proactive and take action before they know they need to. They don’t wait for things to come to them, they make it happen. Actively chase your goals. That could mean coming in earlier, training for longer or doing extra core work.
  • Set high goals for yourself – good enough is not good enough. Thrive for excellence, perfection does not exist. Set limits for yourself and make sure they are high so that you can strive to be the best you can be.
  • Take pride in hard work – We expect instant results and perfection these days, but it isn’t that easy. You need to work hard and take pride in your hard work.

All of these swimming tips have worked to help my swimmers succeed. Along the way track your expectations, and surround yourself with hard-working people. Never stop dreaming, success will come! Get some swimming tips from your coaches as well.

Some great swimming tips from Thanyapura’s Head Coach Miguel Lopez. If you want more, feel free to speak to him by the swimming pool. He will be happy to offer more swimming tips and chat to help you. If not, just stop by and watch him train our FINA future Olympians.

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About the Author

BochakornBOCHAKORN BOONSERM (MAAM) began her education in conventional medicine as a nurse, then shifted to embrace natural healing and integrative medicines. Her training and certifications abroad include: Nutrition and Western Herbal Medicines, Acupuncture and Moxibustion.

During her therapeutic sessions, she may also incorporate other aspects of integrative medicines when required, including: acupuncture, cupping therapy, moxibustion, nutritional, supplements and herbal recommendation.

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