swim smooth swim types your type concept guides faq coaches
ss mainsite

Kick That Habit!

Quick Facts: Kicktastic

- Very strong and propulsive freestyle kick.
- Lacks catch and feel for the water.
- Often short of breath.
- Swims around 2:15 to 1:25 per 100m

the kicktastic
Type 3. The Kicktastic


Often confident swimmers who enjoy swimming and are eager to improve.

How To Spot One:

- Strong constant leg kick
- High body position
- Lack of body rotation
- Struggles with pull buoy sets or when wearing a wetsuit
- Often short of breath.

swim type 3: The Kicktastic

a leap of faith is required towards upper body propulsion!

Kicktastic Profile

The Kicktastic is often but not always female with some swimming experience, often from earlier childhood. Their stroke is characterised by a very dominant and propulsive leg kick but lacks catch and feel for the water with their arm stroke. As kicking is a relatively inefficient method of propulsion, and uses very large muscle groups, this swimmer is often short of breath.

For sprint freestyle a strong kick is expected but over longer distances the very high oxygen demand makes it far from ideal. It is better to divert that energy into the arm stroke for greater propulsive efficiency.

Kicktastics vary hugely in speed depending on the propulsion level from their kick and their level of feel for the water with their arm stroke.

Quickview Kicktastics:

Classic Kicktastic 1:

Classic Kicktastic 2:

Tall Male Kicktastic:

Junior Kicktastic:

Detailed View:

Kicktastic Common Characteristics:

• A very strong six-beat leg kick, often kicking strongly from the knee as opposed to from the hip.

WARNING: Many Kicktastics think they don't kick very hard! If you're not sure, ask someone to give you their opinion, ideally by watching from underwater.

• Typically good body position but this is achieved through a strong and energy sapping kick rather than good balance in the water.

• Tends to struggle in pull buoy sets and often feels unbalanced when wearing a wetsuit.

• Normally quite lean with long levers relative to the torso.

• Body rotation is often poor, swimming quite flat in the water.

• Limited catch and feel for the water.

• Due to relying on the large leg muscle groups for propulsion this swimmer often appears short of breath.

• As triathletes, Kicktastics often complain of tired legs on the bike and run.

Personality Traits:

• Often confident in the water and eager to improve but frustrated that they cannot improve their speed beyond a certain point.

• Can get bored easily during training sessions.

• May appear to dislike attention and in squad situations can appear quite aloof.

Areas To Work On:

As triathletes, Kicktastics often complain their legs are tired when they hit the bike leg.

• A shift of focus from being lower body orientated to upper body.

• Working to improve body roll in conjunction with improving catch and feel is essential. Often requires a longer stroke length with slightly slower stroke rate.

• The shift from lower body to upper body requires a leap of faith on the part of the Kicktastic that they will still swim well despite letting go of the leg kick.

• Kicktastics often find the shift towards upper body propulsion feels hard work with accompanying muscle fatigue in the back, chest and arms. This will improve as the upper body develops aerobically and that whilst it feels harder, the oxygen demand and so pressure on breathing is actually lower overall.


Kicktastics have great potential to be extremely quick in the water if they develop their arm propulsion. Many elite swimmers show kicktastic tendencies such as Ian Thorpe and Michael Phelps, albeit with vastly improved feel for the water.

Stroke Correction Guides

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

Our full Kicktastic 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 and make the switch to upper body propulsion. Follow each of the four included training sessions to fit these techniques into a perfect training session for you.

The Guide is supplied as a digital download straight to your computer. Find out more.

Do You Know A Kicktastic?

Kicktastics are one of the easiest types to spot with their strong leg kick. If you want to be sure, duck under the surface and watch their kick underwater, you will really see the effort they are putting in from that angle. Please let Kicktastics 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. Without a specific program tailored to lessoning their leg kick and improving their catch, it's very unlikely they will improve alone.


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

SS Homepage About Swim Types Media Info Terms & Conditions Coaches Info Essex Physio Contact Swim Smooth
pool yay clinics ouch filming caps coaches two of us
btf coach education

Swim Smooth are proud to have been selected as Coaching Consultants to the British Triathlon Federation
Find out more

swim smooth - the home of great swimming technique

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

Relevant links:
More about Swim SmoothAbout Paul Newsome

Close Window