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Tame Your Inner Arnie!

Quick Facts: Arnie

- Fights the water
- Often breathless
- Frustrated
- Good sprinter
- Swims around 1:45 to 2:10 per 100m

Type 1. The Arnie


Physically confident on land and used to being good at sports, Arnies often find swimming a frustrating experience.

How To Spot One:

- Often but not always male
- Strong build
- Sinky legs
- Stroke cross-overs
- Often lifts head to breathe
- Lack of shoulder flexibility
- High stroke rate
- Poor pacing skills

swim type 1: The Arnie / Arnette

unfortunately for Arnies, in swimming brute force is not an option!

Arnie / Arnette Profile

The Arnie is often male, of strong build and commonly with a background in team sports such as football and rugby. The female 'Arnette' is less overtly muscular but otherwise has very similar attributes. Their lean muscle mass and limited upper-body flexibility gives them very sinky legs when swimming. This means that one of their primary areas of focus needs to be improving their body position.

Quickview Arnies:

1. Classic Arnie:

2. Arnette:

3. Arnie:

4. Developed Arnie:

Detailed View:

Arnie Common Characteristics:

• A tendency to fight the water rather than holding it, resulting in a relatively short stroke with a fast stroke rate.

• Often complains about being out of breath and can only swim limited distances continuously.

• Lifts their head high to breathe.

• Large cross-overs at the front of the stroke and scissor kicks are common to see.

• Generally quite frustrated that they are not as proficient at swimming as in other sports. Sometime this frustration is very strong and is bubbling just below the surface!

• Finds relaxing in the water quite difficult (although they may be in denial about this!) and can be seen to be holding their breath in the water rather than exhaling.

• Very poor body position due to high head position, lack of exhalation (buoyancy in the lungs), poor leg kick technique and limited core stability.

• Limited swimming experience and low enjoyment of swimming.

• Swimming speed is typically 1:45 to 2:10 per 100m.

Arnie 5: Fighting the water:

Personality Traits:

Arnies are often very driven Type-A personalities. This brings dedication and focus which can be a real advantage but only if they learn to relax and slow things down in the short term.

The Arnette

Ladies, sorry for the masculine stereotype here. For women, being an Arnie tends to mean you are more physically confident than average and are a good sportswoman. However, in your stroke, you do struggle with the same issues as your male counterpart and our Arnie Guide will be perfect for you to improve your swimming.

Areas To Work On:

• Recognition that to go faster there's a need to slow down the stroke in the short term.

The Arnie's low body position causes
huge drag.

• A focus on relaxation as a key goal.

• Straightening out the stroke through better body posture.

• Decreasing stroke rate by 3-8 strokes per minute to allow for a long, smooth, rolling stroke.

• Work to get body higher in the water through a combination of leg kick, head position, breathing and core stability work specific to swimming.

• Developing a much better pace awareness - "know your own strength".


Being athletic, Arnies have great potential to become fast swimmers if they can develop a longer smoother stroke with better breathing technique.

Improve: There's a full Stroke Correction Guide for each Type.

Stroke Correction Guides

Our full Arnie Stroke Correction Guide includes all the analysis, drills and techniques you need to improve your stroke technique. There is nothing generic or cookie-cutter in the guide. Each method, drill and visualisation is carefully chosen to target your unique make-up. Follow each of the four included development sessions to fit these techniques into a perfect training session for you.

Supplied as a digital download straight to your computer. Find out more.

Do You Know An Arnie?

Arnies are one of the easiest types to spot and we're sure you know a few. Please let them know about this site! It's often much easier to recognise traits in others than ourselves so give them a quick prompt in this direction and let us get to work on improving their swimming.


On the Swim Smooth Forum we've created a special area for Swim Types. Create a logon and post your experiences and questions about the Swim Type system. Go here!

Article © Swim Smooth 2011

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about swim smooth

Hi there and welcome to Swim Smooth! You know, when I left England in 2001 and became head coach to Australia's largest triathlon club, I encountered a frustrating problem. I felt we were doing a great job of improving our swimmers' strokes and were getting some brilliant race results but there was never enough time to properly explain the methods we were using to our squad swimmers.

My solution was to produce our first Stroke Correction DVD and Swim Smooth was born. It was an instant hit with our swimmers and then with a wider audience around the world.

That was way back in 2004. Since then as Swim Smooth has grown, we've been careful to nurture what's important to us: an individual approach to stroke correction (because everyone's bodies vary considerably, as you might have noticed!); an open minded sharing philosophy (please take a good look around the site); and a solid foundation of coaching methods from elite swimming and triathlon. But our greatest goal is true to the original concept: to clearly show you, the swimmer, how to improve your swimming whatever your level.

I have a request for you: if you enjoy and benefit from Swim Smooth, please spread the word about us. If you have any suggestions, queries or feedback for the Swim Smooth team, please write to us at feedback@swimsmooth.com - we'd love to hear from you.

Enjoy your time in the water!

Paul Newsome
Head Coach, Swim Smooth

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