A Swimmers State Of Mind: Do you have the Right Swimming Mental Attitude?

Dr. GJohn Mullen Blog, Competition, Dr. John Mullen, Dryland, Latest&Greatest, Psychology, Training 1 Comment

“This pool is really tough. No one will set any records here. The lane markers move and the water is cold.”

The greatest factor affecting whether or not you set a great time and achieve your goals in a competition or during swimming training can sometimes be found in your own mind. The secret is how easily you can focus on the objective.

Excessive nervousness, overzealous expectations, and fear of your rivals could be more than enough reasons to lose concentration. Furthermore, simply using a pair of swimming goggles that breaks a few moments before the race could be your worst nightmare.

The following factors can greatly affect how swimmers perform and it would be a good idea to bear these in mind.


It is normal for a swimmer wearing Fastskin to feel more powerful and more confident. However, it is sometimes simply a matter of attitude.

Without realizing it, swimmers often put too much importance on what they wear. This could limit your options and the work you could do during training. In reality, however, you are perfectly ready to achieve great results. You just have to know your own worth.

“I won’t be able to beat my best time because I’m not wearing my Fastskin”

For some athletes, it seems they could only perform at a high level during swimming training or at a competition when they’re wearing one swimsuit or another. It’s as if it were swimming by itself, and their work in the pool is not worth what they thought.

Rather than motivate and boost your desire, you let chance take over and give in to the wind. Don’t be intimidated when you aren’t wearing one but one of your rivals is.

Sure, that next-generation swimsuit you want to compete in so much could probably let you swim as fast as Aquaman. That helmet-shaped cap that would make even Valentino Rossi the happiest man alive could help you beat your rivals. However, there is nothing better in the real world than proper preparation.

Don’t compare or confuse your misbeliefs over that swimsuit with the benefits provided by hard and consistent training. But neither should you avoid the good feelings and psychological boost it provides.

Your feelings are what matter most. If you believe in it or think it will help you improve your performance and achieve your goals, just put it on. But don’t solely depend on it for competition and swimming training.


There are only a few days left before the main competition and inspiration is at a peak. You are raring to go and nothing can stop you during swimming training. You feel so good that your confidence is sky-high and you constantly ask your coach to pace your sprints at maximum speed.

“Just one more please, sir, I want to improve my time.”

Training too hard at indiscriminate speeds and without proper control can have a negative impact on the recovery of anaerobic strength and counteract your intentions.

Except in some specific situations, I believe this is a mistake. To achieve your goals, it is better to reduce the total volume of this kind of repetitions and improve rest periods. This will allow you to achieve adequate recovery and enhance the effects of super-adaptation to speed.

In both cases, I believe it is better to take control of your thoughts. Always maintain a positive and beneficial attitude and tackle situations with determination and confidence.

You have no reason to worry if you have prepared yourself correctly, and even less so if you have trained like you should.

Agustin Artiles GrijalbaWritten 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. He has trained the 50-breaststroke Spanish national recordman Hector Monteagudo Espinosa from 2002 to 2013.

Agustín has trained several international swimmers from the Spanish National Team, the European team, and world top ten. He has also trained Paralympics 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 recognitions for professional merits

Originally posted May 2017

Comments 1

  1. Very true on both counts. Swimmer’s make the suit, suits don’t make
    the swimmer. Less is more during tapering for that big meet not more
    Is better.

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