5 Hard Choices To Swim Successfully


By Wayne Goldsmith (From the Archive)

So you want to swim successfully?  It’s your choice!  It’s as simple as swimming the Hard way!

The Easy Way – Hard Way Concept:
Want to know why good swimmers become great and great swimmers become unbeatable? Simple. Because they understand the “Easy Way – Hard-Way” concept.

A great swimmer, in any situation, when given the choice between doing things the Easy Way or the Hard Way will inevitably choose the Hard Way. They know from experience that doing things the Hard Way is usually the right way and therein lies the real power of this concept. The cumulative effect of always doing things the Hard Way means that when you’re challenged and tested in competition, you can always be confident of a great performance.

Swimming fast has very little to do with talent. Or size. Or strength. Or how expensive your swim-suit is. It’s about the consistent application of the “Easy Way – Hard Way” concept: about living excellence – and about choosing to be successful by being totally committed to being the best you can be in everything you do.

5 Specific Choices for Swimming Successfully


1. Every morning in bed when the alarm goes off, you’ve got a choice to make: the easy way or  the hard way.

Easy way: Hit the snooze button or even worse – go back to sleep.

Hard way: Jump out of bed, pick up the swim bag you packed with all your swim gear the night before, go wake up mom and ask her (nicely) to drive you to workout.


2. In the pool as you approach a wall, you’ve got a choice to make: the easy way or the hard way.

Easy way: Breathe as often as you like, finish sloppily and your head up and your hips down.

Hard way: Don’t breathe from the flags in free and fly, drive to the wall with great power and finish in a streamlined position with hips high.


3. During a tough workout you’ve got a choice to make: the easy way or the hard way.

Easy way: Cruise up and down the lanes, try hard only when the coach is watching and cut laps whenever you get the chance.

Hard way: Swim every lap with excellent technique, outstanding skills, precise pacing and controlled breathing and give everything you’ve got to every lap you swim.


4. When you get home from workout, you’ve got a choice to make: the easy way or the hard way.

Easy way: Dump your swim bag on the floor, go take a shower and then rush down a quick bowl of high sugar cereal for breakfast.

Hard way: Unpack your swim bag in the laundry, put your wet towel and swim-suit in the washer and turn it on, take a shower then make your own breakfast of fresh fruit, healthy low sugar cereal, low fat yogurt, fresh juice and whole grain toast AND clean up afterwards.


5. Late that night when it’s time for sleep, you’ve got a choice to make: the easy way or the hard way.

Easy way: Stay up late watching TV then go to bed and lay there until midnight watching funny videos on your iPad while texting friends.

Hard way: Go to bed early and read a book for 30 minutes before closing your eyes and practicing deep breathing and relaxation exercises as you fall asleep.

It Is A Choice To Swim Successfully

Everyday, you’re presented with choices: to do things the quick, low effort, “easy” way or to do things the often more difficult, challenging “hard way” – which is usually the “right” way.

It’s easy to blame the coach for your lack of success or to find fault in your swim equipment or the pool where you train or your training partners or the weather but in the end, you are the person who determines how successful you can and will be.

The Easy Way – Hard Way concept is very powerful and to those swimmers who master it, success is inevitable: not just in the pool – but in life.

No matter where you train, no matter what event you swim, no matter how old you are, the Easy Way – Hard Way concept is a simple but effective way of achieving the swimming results you want – faster.

Acknowledgement: I have to acknowledge the very brilliant Coach Dave Marsh for inspiration behind this article. “Marshy” and I were talking on deck a while back and this “easy-way, hard-way” concept sort of popped out from both our mouths as we were discussing the things that make good swimmers great and great swimmers unbeatable. Great guy – outstanding coach. Thanks Marshy!

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8 years ago

Great article and I hope as many swimmers as possible read this! The time differences you see at meets could easily be traced back to the grind, commitment and intensity those ‘fast’ swimmers put into their daily training and life, but time and again it’s written off by others as growth spurts, etc.

Peter Clifford
8 years ago

great article Goldy ! commitment to excellence

Magz Wenger
8 years ago

As a young swimmer, I found this article very important and very true. This will change how I look at the tough sets that I go through everyday. Thank you so much!

Apolina Burton
8 years ago

Should I really wash my suit after every practice or just rinse it out?

noel bertwistle
8 years ago

Cheer well said we talk about decisions, all the time, “it’s your decision! !””you choose”

7 years ago

Love this. So true.

7 years ago

Being a swimmer myself, this article has really changed the way I look at hard sets and my results in general. I know now that I can do it if I choose the right way to train and work-the hard way. I hope that when I apply this I will see my succession and my faster times. I think that this article will come in handy. You should read it!!

7 years ago

Could use this too Gemma Cooney ?

7 years ago
Reply to  Belinda Cooney

No. 4 especially

7 years ago

These are hard choices, every one, every time.
Only with support from teammates, coaches and family, force of habit, clarity of the goal, and accountability can we win!

8 months ago

It’s a very nice advice for teenagers!

Driston Owen
8 months ago

You should not put speeds in the washer.