As a swimmer, you have goals. You want to feel strong but controlled in the water. Preparing for an event, you want to hit a certain split or set your best time. And you are willing to put in long hours of training in the water to go from a good swimmer to a great swimmer.
Many of those hours in the water will be spent on swimming drills to improve swim technique. Sculling, single-arm freestyle, closed fist freestyle.
Good swim technique is essential to becoming a proficient and efficient swimmer. It involves mastering the correct body position, stroke technique, breathing, and overall body movement.
But without the right feedback, it can be challenging to know just what to work on during a swim session.
Some swimmers have the advantage of a coach on the pool deck, whether they swim with a team or a Masters group. The coach can provide an assessment of different aspects of a swimmer’s stroke and assign appropriate drills. Others might choose to pay for a video analysis. However, because you know you are being watched, your body patterns aren’t as natural. There can be in-person analysis options but not every pool will allow an outside stroke in.
Incorporating swimming pool mirrors into your training can make it easier to see yourself in the water. Placed at the bottom of a pool or a Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa, you can see every aspect of your stroke from head position to kick technique, make changes instantly, and take your swimming to the next level.
Qualities of a good swimmer
While strength and speed are undoubtedly important, they are not enough to guarantee a successful swimming experience.
There are several qualities that can make a good swimmer stand out from the rest.
A good swimmer has mastered proper swim technique, which includes body position, stroke mechanics, breathing, and body movement in the water. This helps to make their swimming more efficient and effective.
Strength and endurance
Swimming requires a lot of strength and endurance, and good swimmers possess both. They have developed their cardiovascular system and muscles to allow them to swim longer and faster with less fatigue.
Swimming can be a mentally challenging sport, and good swimmers are able to stay focused and motivated even during the toughest of training sessions or races. They also have a strong work ethic and are willing to put in the time and effort to improve their swimming.
Good swimmers have a disciplined approach to their training and are committed to their goals. They consistently show up to practice, follow a structured training plan, and make healthy choices in their daily life to support their swimming.
Good swimmers are receptive to feedback and are willing to make changes to improve their technique and performance. They have a growth mindset and are always looking for ways to learn and improve.
Common swimming mistakes
Swimming is a popular and rewarding sport that offers a great workout for the entire body. However, like any physical activity, it’s not without its challenges, and even experienced swimmers can make common mistakes that can impact their performance.
When you are swimming, especially freestyle, it’s important to keep your head in a neutral position. It might feel tempting to lift your head and look forward. However, it’s important to keep your gaze toward the bottom of the swim spa or the pool.
Improper head position can create drag as you move through the water. But more than that, you might be setting yourself up for injury. Lifting your head as you swim can put more pressure on their shoulders and chest muscles, causing pain.
Crossing the midline
One of the most common swimming mistakes is when a swimmer crosses over his midline with his hand and arm. This type of hand entry forces you to work harder, pulling more water, without swimming any faster.
In addition, swimmers who struggle with crossover are at a higher risk of shoulder injury. Poor technique can lead to rotator cuff tears, tendonitis, bursitis, and cartilage damage.
Over rotating as you swim can kill your speed and power in the water. And, for many swimmers, the goal is to get faster — or at least maintain your fitness.
But what does over rotating in the water look like? As your hand enters the water, your shoulder will drop down briefly before you balance out. Your rotation will depend on your skill level, mobility, and balance control. Ideally, you should rotate only 35 degrees to 40 degrees when you are in the water. Swimmers who overrotate, though, can drop down more — even form a 90-degree angle with the bottom of the swim spa.
The problem with over rotation is that it can disrupt your swim rhythm and potentially cause your body to sink.
Kicking helps you gain while swimming, as well as help you stay on the surface of the water.
But kicking as hard or as quickly as you can will not necessarily equal improved performance. In fact, you’re more likely to find yourself slowing down.
One of the common swimming mistakes is that swimmers are not kicking “small” enough. If you open your legs like a pair of scissors, you will create more drag and throw off your balance.
Not swimming consistently
You look at your training schedule, and the number can seem overwhelming. Your coach or training plan has assigned 10,000 meters for the week. But how are you going to fit in the swims with everything else you have going on?
Sure, you could swim four 2,500-meter workouts. But you could also do two long workouts and call it a week.
When it comes to swimming, though, longer workouts are not always better. Swim frequency is often more important than the length of your workout. Swimming more often helps reinforce good movement patterns, and you can maintain a good feel for the water.
Regular swimming sessions can help you build endurance, improve your technique, and increase your overall strength and fitness. Swimming consistently can also help you establish a routine and make it easier to stay motivated and committed to your fitness goals.
Training with swimming pool mirrors
Swim training is hard work, but using a pool mirror can help you see what’s working and what isn’t, so you’ll know how to adjust for maximum results.
Using pool mirrors allows swimmers to identify areas where they need improvement without having someone else point them out directly. Instead of asking someone else to critique your technique, you can see your stroke technique in real-time. This allows you to identify areas for improvement and make adjustments on the fly.
Correct body position: By using pool mirrors, swimmers can better maintain proper body position in the water, reducing drag and improving their speed.
Improved breathing: Swimmers can use pool mirrors to monitor their breathing technique and ensure they’re taking in the right amount of air and fully exhaling while underwater.
Better arm and leg position: Pool mirrors can also help swimmers improve their arm and leg position, ensuring they’re not overreaching or kicking too wide.
Increased self-awareness: Pool mirrors allow swimmers to develop greater self-awareness of their technique, ultimately leading to improved swimming performance. Rather than relying on delayed feedback from an underwater camera, you can make adjustments instantly and feel confident that you are correcting your form.
How to use swimming mirrors
Goggles, swim cap, center swim snorkel, fins, paddles, towel, sandals — there’s a lot of gear that you need to put into your swim bag. Can you imagine trying to take a swim mirror to the pool so you can get the feedback you are looking for?
Don’t worry — there’s a good chance that your training pool will say “no” to adding a mirror to the bottom of your swim lane.
A Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa, though, makes it possible to regularly swim with a pool mirror.
Professional triathletes including Mirinda Carfrae, Tim O’Donnell, and Meredith Kessler keep swim mirrors at the bottom of their spa. During sessions in the swim-in-place pool, they can prevent common swimming mistakes and fine tune their technique.
(Yes, even professional athletes need to adjust their stroke to improve their efficiency, speed, and power.)
Meredith Kessler likes to make sure that her hands are in line with her shoulders and she is avoiding crossover. Combining mirrors with a center swim snorkel, Mirinda Carfrae can focus on her elbow position and how she pulls through the water.
An at-home training solution for swimmers of all skill levels, a Michael Phelps swim spa provides a stationary swimming experience. Swimmers can use a Michael Phelps swim spa to work on their swimming technique. The adjustable water flow and resistance allows them to practice their strokes, incorporate drills, and swim consistently.
The propulsion system creates a smooth, wide current with remarkable visibility. With speed settings from zero to 100, you can adjust the resistance of the water current to match your skill level and scheduled workout.
Bonus: You also have the ability to set the water temperature, whether you prefer a cool 81 degrees or prefer something more comfortable. And because it features energy-efficient insulation and a built-in heater, you can swim year-round in the convenience and privacy of your backyard.
The adjustable water temperature also provides a relaxing and therapeutic environment for recovery and relaxation. The swim spa’s built-in jets can provide a massage-like effect, which can help to reduce muscle soreness and aid in recovery.
How to buy a swim spa
Do you want to be able to swim, exercise, and relax at home? Having a Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa allows you to swim on your schedule while adding a fun factor to your backyard. You can click here to find out more about the benefits of hydrotherapy and relaxing in a hot tub. Or, contact your local Master Spas retailer to learn more about swim spa ownership. Wondering how much a swim spa costs? You can request a quote here.