5 Ways to Swim Faster, No Talent Needed!

Photo Courtesy: Kalina DiMarco

By Makena Markert, Swimming World College Intern.

Have you ever felt like you were doing everything you possibly could to get better and weren’t seeing results? Consider trying these five things that require absolutely no talent. If you incorporate them into your life, you just might see the improvements you’ve been looking for!

1. Be coachable.

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Photo Courtesy: Thomas Campbell/Texas A&M Athletics

Being coachable is important in any sport. A coach’s job is to provide constructive criticism, so being able to accept this criticism is crucial to success. Hearing your coach is one thing, but listening and then applying their feedback to what you’re doing is another. Feedback is a precious tool; it would be a waste not to use it. Having an open mind is also a big part of being coachable. Ultimately, be willing to learn and try new things. Being open to making changes provides ample opportunity to learn and improve.

2. Be prompt.

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Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

It’s not hard to plan ahead to ensure you’re where you need to be when you need to be there. Showing up when you’re supposed to requires no talent whatsoever, yet for one reason or another, people find it difficult. If this applies to you, give yourself some wiggle room for things that may pop up out of the blue. Being on time is great, but being early is even better  and both options are better than being the swimmer who is late. Being early can have immediate benefits, such as extra time to stretch or talk to your coach to set your intent for the day. You can set alarms on your phone or watch as a reminder, or keep a planner to help keep track of busy days.

3. Have a good attitude and body language.

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Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

A good attitude and good body language is apparent to everyone around you. Imagine a hard set that you and your teammates struggled through together. There are two kinds of swimmers during these sets: Ones that complain and see the glass half empty or those who are uplifting and see the glass half full. Why not be the swimmer who is encouraging others to do their best, especially during those tough practices? Genuine positivity spreads like a wildfire. You can help yourself while also helping your teammates around you.

While positive words can go a long way, positive body language can provide nonverbal cues to support teammates. Eye contact, an upright posture, nodding and high-fiving each other are just a few ways to communicate positive energy.

4. Healthy eating and sleeping habits.

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Photo Courtesy: Joey Soraghan

Eating too little can cause weakness and fatigue, which are two things athletes don’t want to feel. However, eating too much can also hinder athletic performance and slow your body down. As an athlete, there are certain foods that are more beneficial in fueling your body than others.

Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, but athletes may need even more. Rest increases recovery capacity, and athletes need to be able to recover from those difficult workouts in order to repair muscle damage to perform optimally in subsequent workouts.

“Getting enough sleep is crucial for athletic performance,” says David Geier, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist from Charleston, South Carolina. “Just as athletes need more calories than most people when they’re in training, they need more sleep, too.”

5. Have a good work ethic.

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Photo Courtesy: Robin Sparf

Success comes from actively working toward your goals. Natural talent will fade. Being naturally talented is a gift; however, this saying typically rings true in the long run: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

Success comes from having internal discipline and being consistent. The best swimmers work hard both in and out of the pool.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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Author: Makena Markert

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Makena will begin her sophomore year at Kenyon College in the fall of 2018. She swims on Kenyon's varsity swim team and competed at DIII NCAA's her freshman year, earning herself an All-American title in the 100 breaststroke. She is planning on majoring in biology and minoring in Chinese.

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