Posts by Claire Owen

Synchronised Freestyle Swimming

No make up, hair ties or lipstick for this kind of synchronised swimming!

Sync swimming is great fun activity to do, but can also bring awareness to the possibilities of how to adjust your ‘catch’, and act as an introduction to different ‘swimming gears’ available to you.

What to do?

  1. Get a swimming partner.
  2. Decide who’s doing the swimming, and who will sync them.
  3. Decide which side you will pull into your first stroke (this needs to be the same)
  4.  Your aim is to synchronise the same ‘tempo’ as you partner.
  5. It’s not easy! Give it a few goes and you will start to problem solve how to keep at the same tempo.


What factors will affect your ability to swim at the same tempo?

  • Height
  • Wingspan
  • Stroke length
  • Efficiency
  • Skill
  • Core stability

If I am swimming with someone who has a bigger wingspan or is more efficient than me. I can feel myself adjusting my catch, by swimming in a low gear; trying to cover a lot of distance with each stroke to keep up with them. I work at reducing drag and a feeling of heavy pressure on my catch phase.

If I am swimming with someone who is less efficient and/or has a shorter wingspan than me. I can feel my adjustments are different, I need to lighten my catch, apply less pressure, cover less distance per stroke,  in order to sync with my partner. In addition, with this combination, my core stability is challenged, and I need to engage my core stabilisers in order to stay balanced.


Give it a go, and ensure to try out with several swim buddies to get a spectrum of challenges.

Active Streamlining in Swimming

Are you aware of the body shape that you make in the water?

Do you even make a 'shape' in the water? Or is your swimming based on constant movement of pulling and kicking in order to maintain forward propulsion?

Remember we humans are massive energy wasting machines in the water. Most of us, a mere 3 % efficient, (yes, that is a whopping 97% wastage),  just one of the reasons swimming poses challenges to us.  Even elite level record breaking world champions are only 8%-10%!

We create drag due to 95% of our body being below water, add to that a poor body position and gravity pulling you down, and swimming often feels like an uphill struggle.

Swimming with Drag


Coaching swimmers to 'reduce drag' by creating a sleek, long, yet relaxed body shape allows the swimmer to address both balance and energy wastage. It will move swimmers towards an optimal stroke length, and increased efficiency during the early stages of stroke correction.

Swimmers will often call this 'gliding', yet the whole stroke will never lock out in a stationary 'glide'. That is, a complete pause both at the back of the stroke and the front, this must be avoided at all costs. We use the term active streamlining, that is linked to the perpetual motion of the stroke. Through a simple drill with key focal points, shaping the body begins to integrate into the whole stroke



Roll to breath

Stable platform for breathing rotation


Long, sleek and relaxed. Core stabilizers engaged, to application of 'catch'


The less water we move the better! Minimal turbulence and drag. Hence moving your body forwards through the water, instead of moving water around.

What does 2015 hold for your swimming improvement?

What’s your plan?

Are you ready to enter your first triathlon or ocean swim? Looking to improve your efficiency and speed in your next open water event? Or simply want to enjoy swimming as part of your weekly activities schedule for improved health and wellness?

New Year’s resolutions are tough! There about trying to change behaviour – forever!

For a better success rate at making changes last, simply use the SMART goal model

  • Keep your destination in sight
  • Know the steps to take to get yourself there
  • Watch your confidence and abilities grow as you achieve each step

Tips for moving forwards with your swimming! 

1. Get your stroke analysed – understand what’s going well, and where your opportunities for improvement are

2. Enrol in a stroke correction group or 1-1 program that is right for your needs

3. Always ask your coach ‘why’ you are doing a certain drill or activity, and how it effects the mechanics of your stroke

4. Improve your stroke efficiency before working on your speed

5. Join a swim squad that is convenient for your weekly schedule

6. Throw away your kick-boards and pull-bouys

7. Purchase a finis tempo trainer to replace the items in 6. (takes up far less room in your kit bag) and will produce better results for your swimming improvement.


BALANCE in swimming

Take steps towards improving your swimming this year, by increasing your curiosity to try new things.

Listen to the feedback your body gives you when you try something different.

Does your stroke ‘feel’ easier, better, smoother, lighter and  just plain right? Or does it feel tense, awkward, uncomfortable and restrictive?

Swimming should not be a struggle. We often spend laps and laps in utter discomfort, practicing incorrect and sometimes mildly damaging technique.

  • Correct swimming  technique ‘feels’ easy, it feels right!
  • Get the basics right and begin to feel your swimming change, and improve.
  • Improve your EFFICIENCY and ultimately your SPEED!
  • Balanced swimmers are better swimmers!




Swim smarter better and faster with SWIMLAB

I’m here to help you swim smarter, better and faster! Whether you’re a beginner swimmer or training for an open water event, SWIMLAB can help you become more confident in the water.

It’s all in how you swim. We encourage you to work in your zone of improvement.
How many meters you swim, will not guarantee that you swim better or faster!
What your heart rate does will not predict in any way how fast you’re going to swim.

At SWIMLAB, in every swimming practice session, we help you make every stroke count.

Total Immersion ™ Swimming

Let’s take a look at Total Immersion ™ (TI) head coach Terry Laughlin demonstrating TI freestyle swimming technique.

What do you think when you watch Terry swim?

The building blocks to easy efficient swimming come from being ‘aware’ in the water. Awareness comes from relaxing and releasing tension. We help you understand how to have a relaxed and ‘balanced body’ in the water.

TI helps you:

  • Use energy efficiently
  • Let conditioning happen, while you practice efficient swimming
  • Swim fast, rather than hard
  • Learn ease, before focusing on speed or endurance