adjust your swimming mindset

Adjust Your Swimming Mindset

Hey Team, it’s Rory here. The biggest obstacle standing in the way of your success in swimming might just be the way you think about swimming.

When you change the way you think about swimming I guarantee you, you will start to get see much quicker improvements! Here are 5 tips to help you get your mind right.

adjust your swimming mindset


1. Accept Your Starting Point

I wish I had learned to handstand when I was a kid. I’m sure you wish you already knew how to swim well, or swim as well as someone else you know. But we didn’t and you can’t (yet).

No doubt you have goals that you would like to achieve, we all do. If you are anything like me those goals are lofty and ambitious. Maybe you want to be a sub 30 minute 70.30 swimmer? Maybe you want to break 2.00/100m. Maybe you just want to make it through your first Triathlon without drowning!

Whatever the goal, the truth is you won’t get there until you accept where you are now. You won’t break 2.00/100m until you’ve swum 2.20/100m or 2.10/100m first.

Most of us want desperately to shortcut the process that will get us to those goals. We want to go from 2.30/100m to 1.30/100m in a week.

But forcing yourself to do things that your body is not ready to do isn’t going to get you there any faster. In fact it’s more likely to make you want to quit or to get you injured.
Regardless of where you wish you were or how good you could have been if you had started earlier, accept where you’re are now. Then build progressively forward from there.

Key Takeaway

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
– Arthur Ashe


2. Don’t Compare Your Beginning To Someone Else’s Middle

We assume that swimmers who can swim have always known how to swim. We see someone swimming fast and instantly believe they are a “natural”. That’s an assumption that’s seldom right.

Swimming is a skill. A skill that no one is born with. Anyone that knows how to swim and is comfortable in the water has done so through practice and hours and hours of exposure to the water. Maybe that practice and exposure happened when they were younger, but just as plausible is that it has happened over the last 6 month or year.

Key Takeaway

Swimming is a skill. A skill that no one is born with. Anyone that knows how to swim and is comfortable in the water has done so through practice and hours and hours of exposure to the water.


3. It’s All About Experience

Your beliefs about swimming come from your experience in the water. If you’ve just started out in the sport, chances are you haven’t spent enough time swimming to form useful beliefs. So you believe something that’s not necessarily true.

Picture it: you get hit in the face by some water and you don’t get a good breath in. Then it starts:

“Oh my gosh, I’m out of breath, I have to stop, I’m not going to finish the swim, I’ll miss my goal time, this race/practice is a failure, what are people going to think about me, I’m a failure!”

Theses thoughts define your experience with the water. If you have nothing else to compare it to, it’s true for you. You simply haven’t spent enough time in the water to know better.

By spending more time in it you will begin to see your swimming differently.

What I see with my clients (more than the time they drop and their improved stroke mechanics) is the increase in confidence about swimming and their ability to swim – and that only comes from experience.

Key Takeaway

By spending more time in it you will begin to see your swimming differently.


4. Success Is Fun

Everyone is motivated to do the things we enjoy doing. The things we enjoy doing are also the things we are good at. They are the things that bring us recognition from our friends, our families and the people that we respect in our lives.

If I asked you right now to do something crazy like balance on a tight rope or do a front flip off a 10m diving board, chances are you’d fall flat on your face and you’re unlikely to want to try it again. Tight rope walking is a skill, diving is a skill, swimming is a skill too.

The thing with skills is that it can be learned and mastered. What you’ll discover is that as you get better at a skill you begin to enjoy it more.

As you enjoy it more you do it more.

As you do it more you get noticed and recognized for your mastery of the skill.

And when people start recognizing how good you have become at swimming, all of a sudden your motivation to swim is never a problem again!

Key Takeaway

As you get better at a skill you begin to enjoy it more. As you enjoy it more you do it more. As you do it more you get noticed and recognized for your mastery of the skill.

adjust your swimming mindset


5. Figure Out Why You Want It

Simon Sinek talks about knowing your why and how important it is to your success.

When workouts get tough, when you get tired and want to give up or take shortcuts, your why will keep you going. If you have a good enough reason to want to succeed in swimming, you’ll push through the tough times and you’ll find your success. Find your why.

Tell me your WHY!

I love hearing about why people got into Triathlon (especially when they couldn’t swim at all before they started the sport!). So what’s your reason for doing triathlons? For trying to master the swim? Put it down in the comments below or send me an email and let me know!
~ Rory

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

You might also like...

4 thoughts on “Adjust Your Swimming Mindset”

  1. Enjoyed the podcast with Brenton Ford. For this Newbie, your ability to reduce the obstacles of learning to swim efficiently to their fundamentals was very helpful. Now a follower on I gram…

    1. Hey John, thanks for connecting! I’m glad you understood the way I think about swimming 🙂 Really enjoyed that podcast with Brenton! Will look out for you on IG!

  2. Catherine Klaffer

    Hiiiii Rory,
    I think I started triathlon training because
    a) it was a new challenge, swimming fast I wasn’t yet very fit at. I was in the pool three/week doing my 60min non-stop swims watching the regular squad swimming and quietly freaking out at the energy they created and their speed in the pool LOL. I NEVER thought I would be in the league to join them.
    One member of the squad kept seeing me on the stairs when they finished and encouraging me to join. I was like NO WAY I’m not as fast as you guys, I won’t make it! I was embarrassed to join incase I look like an idiot tbh too.
    After the third invitation I eventually accepted. Nearly threw up/fainted at the same time on the first three sessions. Kept going. Now I am not doing too badly at all and can sometimes even beat some of the guys OMG.

    and b) I can’t let something beat me. I need to be the very best I can be at anything I put my hand to. 110% or not at all. Thing is, I have a funny feeling tri is not done with me and will not be done with me for the rest of my life!

    Im really enjoying the comraderie, meeting new, energetic, interesting people and some crazy ones too. Have you seen the ‘Pathetic Triathletes Group’ on FB? Hysterical!!!!

    1. Hi Cat,
      Awesome story! Little know story, when I was 18 I changed coaches and moved to a performance squad with some of the fastest Age Group Girl swimmers in South Africa at the time. I couldn’t make it through the warm up with out either throwing up or just being completely exhausted. But with time, consistency and a bucket load of stubbornness, I was making it through 16,000m of hard swimming every day.
      Another little known story, that progression from 0 – 16,000m a day led to 2 surgeries and a lot of pain and frustration.
      Moral of my stories – keep that competitive beast on a leash – let her crush it when she needs to crush it, but make sure she doesn’t run your training regime, if she does, that long term goal of years is in jeopardy.
      ~ Rory

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *