The Key to Becoming a Great Swimmer

Jun 21, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Start of heat two of the Women's 50M Freestyle during the preliminary heats at George F. Haines International Aquatic Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Courtesy: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

By Wayne Goldsmith

If you’ve ever watched and stared in amazement at the swimming performances of Phelps, Lochte, Ledecky and Franklin and wondered how to become a great swimmer, this video is for you.

In a recent Swimming World post, we talked about HARD CHOICES: the choices and decisions swimmers make every day that determine how successful they will be.

Greatness is not an accident.

Nor is it – as most people believe – a genetic gift – something you’re born with.

Greatness is a choice – or rather it is a consequence of consistently making the right choices – the hard choices – in everything you do – everyday.

It is the cumulative impact of doing things the Hard Way (the right way) over and over and over again.

How to become a great swimmer: your future starts today.

If you’ve decided to become a great swimmer, why not start right here and right now?

Start with something simple.

Get up.

Go and open the refrigerator and choose something to eat. Make the choice to eat something a great swimmer would eat, i.e. fruit, low fat fruit yoghurt, whole-grain toast with a low fat spread.

Now go find something to drink. Choose to drink something a great swimmer would drink, i.e. water, home-squeezed fresh juice or low-sugar fruit or vegetable juice bought from the store.

Congratulations! Your choices have put you on the road to greatness.

Greatness for you may not be an Olympic Gold medal. Or a world record. Or a college championship.

Greatness for you may be realising your potential and becoming the best swimmer you can be – not by luck, not by wearing the most expensive swim suits money can buy, not by chance: but by you choosing to be great by the decisions you make and the actions you take.

Greatness is not a single act: it’s a lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle where making the right choices becomes your habit.

Photo Courtesy: Tori Bursell

Photo Courtesy: Tori Bursell

*Video courtesy of Australian Triathlon and Multisport Magazine. For everything swim, bike, run go to



  1. Aaron Guo

    The concept of ‘free will has no limits’ is completely asinine and this article barely references the importance of good genetics. If Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps didn’t have the genes that they do, they would not be the swimmers that they are. I appreciate the concept of “I can do anything I put my mind to”, but the fact of the matter is that all humans intrinsically have physical limitations. Poorly written idealistic article that was a waste of 3 minutes. Thanks, Swimming World.

    • Seth Bontrager

      Thank you for being a loser with a loser mentality. You make everyone striving towards greatness feel better about themselves when they come across you, and people like you.

    • Aaron Guo

      There’s a difference between being what you call a “loser” and being “realistic”. Try criticizing what I say instead of making a personal attack of calling me a “loser with a loser mentality”. That tends to help in an argument.

  2. Patty Higueros


  3. Nadine Ibrahim

    Mohamed El Desouky Ahmed Naged Mokhtar

  4. Mar Herr

    Make the right choice in every action of our life make the difference whatever thing you do.