Now that we’re into September, swim teams all over the world
are back in the pool and gearing up for a new year full of
possibility. Amidst all the excitement, it’s important to
remember that the first few weeks of training set the stage for the
Take advantage of the opportunity to get back to the drawing board
and make changes that will launch you into a successful swim season
by following the tips below.
1. Learn from the mistakes of last season
While there is a lot to take away from the successes of the
previous season, it’s even more important to take a critical
look at what went wrong last season, and how it could be done
better this time around.
Deconstruct your preparations and performances from last season so
that you can identify areas of weakness and figure out what changes
you could make to avoid repeating the same mistakes in the
2. Set good habits from the start
The beginning of the season is a fresh start. What better time
form habits that will set you up for success? Don’t
wait to shift gears back into training mode – make sure that
you have great nutrition, lots of sleep, and a productive routine
from the first day of training.
It’s much easier to form good habits when you have a fresh
start than it is to change bad habits after the fact.
3. Maintain perspective
Depending on how much time you spent away from the pool and how
active you were during your break, you might have a vastly
different fitness level from a teammate at the start of the
Don’t stress out if other swimmers seem to be adjusting to
the training faster than you. Remember that the start of the season
can be more difficult for some than others, and it’s
important to keep this in perspective.
It might be painful at the start and you might feel strange in the
water, but you’ll get back into a rhythm soon enough. Keep
4. Facilitate team bonding
The start of the season is the time that a team sets the foundation
for its direction and character that will lead it on a path toward
success or disaster. Do not underestimate the power of a highly
Make sure to welcome newcomers and set the stage for a healthy team
atmosphere. The beginning of the season is a blank slate that each
team member can influence – make sure you do your part to
facilitate team bonding and create great chemistry from the
5. Make technical changes early
improving technique takes time and is always a work in
progress, the best opportunity to make big advancements is at the
start of a season when it’s easier to form and hold on to
Making significant adjustments to your stroke can feel
uncomfortable at first, but early season is a time when you likely
feel strange in the pool anyway as you get your feel for the water
back. This is the perfect chance to make big leaps forward when it
comes to your technique and skills.
6. Focus on kick
High-intensity kick sets are one of the fastest ways to get in
shape at the start of the season, as the majority of your muscle
mass is in your legs. By focusing on conditioning your biggest
muscles first, you’ll lay the groundwork for improved
strength and endurance.
As Russell Mark of USA Swimming says, “Commit to working on
underwaters early on. Make a new season “resolution” to
get better at your kicks and doing a certain number off of every
wall. It will pay off in the end.”
7. Write down ambitious goals
The start of the season is the perfect time to dream big. As you
get back into the swing of things with your teammates and look
forward to the exciting times ahead, you should take advantage of
all the positive energy and build yourself some confidence heading
into the season.
But it’s not enough to just daydream about
your goals – you need to actually write them down.
Put pen to paper so that you make a concrete commitment to
yourself. This will boost your motivation and help you to persevere
when times get tough later in the season. While your goals should
be realistic, don’t be afraid to make them ambitious.
8. Track your progress
As mentioned previously, the beginning of the season is the best
time to form new habits. One of these habits should be
keeping track of your workouts so that you can track your
progress and collect valuable information about your own
Recording your times is a great start, but it’s even better
to collect additional information on other metrics like your stroke
counts and rates. It’s incredibly useful to track this data
so that you can compare where you were at the start of the season
to where you are later on.