Improving Elite Swimming Performance

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ImprovingElite Swimming Performance

ImprovingElite Swimming Performance

Swimmingis among the most popular sports in the world. Different strategiesfor enhancing the performance of elite swimmers have suggested, butonly a few of them have been proven to be effective. Some coachesadvertise some training techniques, not because they understand theireffectiveness, but with the objective of attracting elite clients whobelieve in those techniques (Rushall, 1998). This has resulted in thedevelopment and the use of many fantasies in the field of swimming.This paper will address four strategies (including plyometrics,strength training, and streamlining) that have been proven to beeffective in enhancing the performance of elite swimmers.

Theconcept plyometrics training has been gaining popularity among eliteswimmers and their coaches. This is because plyometrics training hasbeen shown to enhance the starting power of an elite swimmer, whichin turn improves their velocity. In an experimental study of about 22elite swimmers, setting one’s pace with a tempo trainer, Mulle(2015) identified the plyometrics training enhances the swimmersperformance by 15 %. The concept of plyometrics training is based onthe idea that a good start, which is achieved by enhancing thestarting power, coupled with an increase in the overall velocitythroughout the race increase the overall performance of an eliteswimmer.

Thesecond strategy is a focus on strength training, which involves arange of exercises (such as weight lifting and other gym-basedpractices) other than the actual swimming. Coaches who focus onstrength training aim at increasing the capacity of elite swimmers toovercome resistance in water by training them outside the waters.This is mainly accomplished by enhancing the muscular strength of thesimmers. A research conducted by Vliet (2014) indicated that strengthtraining enhanced the performance of 50 m elite swimmers, especiallywhen combined with sprint training. This is because strength trainingis associated with an insignificant decrease in stroke frequency.

Thethird technique involves setting one’s pace with a tempo trainer.Coaches who believe in this concept do not remain on the land whilesetting the time foe their clients, but they jump into the waterswith them. A tempo trainer sets a competitive scenario in whichtrainees benchmark their performance (including the velocity) withtheir trainer. Smith (2012) conducted an experiment on elite swimmerson a 500-yard freestyle swimming exercise and concluded that trainingagainst the tempo swimmer give trainees some auditory queue thatenhances their swimming pace. Therefore, the aim of swimming with atempo swimmer is to enhance the speed, which means that thistechnique should be combined with others, especially the strengthtraining.

Thefourth strategy is streamlining, which involve swimming at the samedistance along the length of the wall with the same breakout time.The objective of streamlining exercise is to increase the capacity oftrainees to swim for long distance and at a high speed (Smith, 2012).This type of strategy is based on the observation that swimmers tendto learn faster when repetitive training is applied.

Swimmingis among the highly competitive sports, and elite swimmers can usedifferent strategies to enhance their performance. There are aboutfour strategies that have been proven by researchers to be effective.These strategies include the use of plyometrics training, strengthtraining exercises, training with tempo trainers, and streamliningexercise. Elite swimmers may combine these strategies since each ofthem affect their performance in different ways.


Mulle,G. (2015). Science of performance: Plyometrics and its effect onswimming performance. SwimmingWorld.Retrieved December 11, 2015, from

Rushall,B. (1998). Swimmingscience bulletin.San Diego, CA: San Diego State University.

Smith,J. (2012). Swimming coaching insider. Journalof International Society of Swimming Coaching,2 (1), 1-50.

Vliet,R. (2014). Effectsof strength training on sprint swim performance.New York, NY: Colombia University.

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