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Gap The Field

Quick Facts: Smooth

- Moves seemingly effortlessly and gracefully through the water with a long stroke.
- Excellent body position, rotation and high elbow recovery.
- A tendency towards a fairly strong six beat kick.
- Recommends wet shaving.
- Swims from 1:25 to sub 1:00 per 100m

smooth type
Type 6. Smooth


Confident in their ability but may lack motivation.

How To Spot One:

- Only ever found in the top lane
- Silky smooth stroke
- Good rotation and high elbows
- Seems to move effortlessly through the water
- May spend slightly too long in front of the mirror.

swim type 6: Smooth

everybody wants to be a smooth but even their stroke will benefit from a tune-up

The Smooth:

The Classic Smooth Type: Olympic Swimmer Jono Van Hazel:

Detailed View:

Full Smooth Profile

The Smooth can be male or female and has an excellent swimming background. They appear to be perfect in the water and to exert very little effort whilst cruising past their opponents.

Their stroke may require some adaptations to perform at their potential in open water.

Common Characteristics:

• Excellent body position, rotation and high elbow recovery over the water.

• A long stroke, normally with a low stroke-per-length count.

• Relaxation above the water is excellent, giving the impression of everything being easy for the Smooth type.

• A slightly slow stroke rate which is to their disadvantage in open water versus specialists in this area.

• Has the best catch and feel for the water of all the Swim Types. High levels of propulsion produce the characteristic long stroke.

• Smooths may appear to glide at the front of the stroke but this is not the case when swimming properly. When viewed from under the water their hands are always in motion - either extending forwards, tipping the fingertips downwards or commencing the catch. This much higher skill level is a critical difference from the Overglider type.

• The Smooth type often has a reasonably strong six beat kick. This is not to be confused with the Kicktastic type, where arm propulsion is poor. The Smooths have great kick and arm propulsion.

• Swimming speed is typically 0:47 to 1:20 per 100m.

Personality Traits:

• Having grown up with a strong swimming background, confidence in the water and in their ability is high.

Double Olympic Gold Medallist Rebecca Adlington - a classic Smooth Type.

• May lack a little motivation if they have swum at a high level for a long time and so requires fun and stimulating swim sets.

Areas To Work On:

• A general technique and form maintenance program will ensure that their smooth stroke is maintained.

• Develop enhanced catch and feel for the water with an emphasis on increasing stroke rate by a touch.

• If racing in open water or triathlon some stroke adaptation may be required - specifically an increase in stroke rate to punch through waves and chop.

• On top of technique work, a strong and focused specific swim conditioning program is essential - a variety of swim sets that tap into the key aspects of performance physiology (i.e. threshold and VO2 Max).

Swim Smooth's Animated Swimmer 'Mr Smooth'

Mr Smooth - Our 'Ideal' freestyle stroke visualisation. See him in action here.

If you haven't met Mr Smooth yet, be sure to check him out on Swim Smooth's main site. He's our amazing visualisation of an ideal freestyle stroke - and the perfect representation of the Smooth Swim Type. You can improve your swimming just by watching him in action.

Over 20000 swimmers have downloaded the animation to their computer to view his 'ideal' freestyle stroke from any angle at any speed in amazing clarity. Don't miss out yourself! You can download him here.

Stroke Correction Guides

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

If you are a Smooth type, our specific Stroke Correction Guide for you includes everything you need to tune up your stroke and get you back to your very best. We won't waste your time on unnecessary areas: the four training sessions are highly focused on getting your feel for the water to elite level. If you've been out of the water for a while don't worry, you'll soon polish up again with the four focused sessions in the guide.

The guide is supplied as a digital download straight to your computer. In Acrobat format you can read it on your computer or print it out for easier reference. Find out more.


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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