7 Qualities Found in an Elite Long Distance Swimmer

Dr. GJohn Mullen Blog 3 Comments

7 Qualities Found in an Elite Long Distance Swimmer

The Long distance swimmer doesn’t expect you to understand them. If you only appreciate the power of their goals and the energy they have inside. 

It’s been over an hour and your teammates went to change. You aren’t even close to the end of your own training session. You’ve been swimming for three hours and have 3,000 meters to go. You’re arms are heavy, they hardly respond any more. Your momentum drives you to keep going. If you want to win such a demanding long-distance event; you need to work hard and giving up is not an option.

You concentrate and push on, you hum your favorite song… and turn again. Glance at the clock and see that it reads five seconds slower what you’re aiming for. Your coach encourages you to keep going and transmits his energy.  You dig deep and pick up the pace. You’re not ready to give up yet. If something sets you aside from the other athletes, it’s your courage and audacity that won’t let tiredness beat you.

This is a long distance swimmer; capable and qualified athletes with greater average mental strength. Passionate and tremendously combative, they never give up and write their tales of victory with effort and commitment. They embody many of the qualities that a coach looks for in a swimmer.

  1. High aerobic capacity and high maximum oxygen consumption levels. Having a higher MAX VO2 does not necessarily mean better performance. It depends on other factors like the age of the swimmer, height, weight, gender, temperature, and metabolism.
  2. Swimming quality and economy is the ability to compete with the commitment of long distance swimmers. The ability to swim in a relaxed fashion and with no apparent tension. Ability to swim over long distances for long periods of time without experiencing lactic acidosis.
  3. The ability to perform at high-speed using less energy and to resist fatigue.
  4. In long and highly intensive competitions, such as those in the open water, they use up all the glycogen reserves they had before the event before fatigue.
  5. Great sense of rhythm and tactical intelligence.
  6. Ability to compete with different strategies and adapt them to the needs of the race. The rivals to beat and the sea conditions.
  7. Endurance swimming is an activity that often requires a high volume of work. Significant effort and skill from the athlete, and a suitable capacity to recover between training sessions and competitions. It is characterized by several other qualities.


Extraordinary willpower and a desire to overcome adversity. Laudable responsibility and consistency, mental strength that drives their actions to unimaginable limits. Incredible motivation that gives their actions a halo of amazing heroism and integrity. This is what makes up an elite long distance swimmer.


Lucía A. Cómo los mejores. 18/09/2000. El País

Written by Agustín Artiles (“Champi”). Agustín has more than 35 years of experience as the Head Coach of some of the most important Spanish swimming teams He has been the Coach of the Spanish Swimming Team from 2008 to 2012, and has trained the 50 breastroke Spanish national recordman, Hector Monteagudo Espinosa, from 2002 to 2013 Agustín has also trained several international swimmers from the Spanish National Team and from the european and world top ten, as well as paraolimpics athletes with medals and world records in all the different categories. He has also been accomplished with the award as the Best competition swimming coach in Spain 2006, as several recognition for professional merits.

Originally Posted January 2017

Comments 3

  1. Hello,

    My son is 13 years old ,he had started swimming in age of 5 years, now he getting training for long pool events . he only 4.45 feet height can given suggestion for his improvement

    1. Very hard to give recommendations from this. Talk with his coach, ensure he is having fun and work on steady improvements.

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