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  • Gareth & Jon Keating

Swimming with the Swim Mentors

Sadly the government has called a 2nd national lockdown to include the closure of leisure facilities and swimming pools. During the 1st lockdown when we had decent weather and those keen swimmers amongst us headed to open water venues.


I’m sure many of us may still be tempted to don the wetsuit and head out for more open water swimming. If this is you please can we just urge you to be cautious as the colder water temperatures will make a difference. Swimming with buoyancy belt, and swimming with a swim buddy would be highly recommended.


If swimming during this time seems unlikely, then perhaps use the next month to plan a return to the water, focus on some land-based conditioning work and improving overall fitness ready for (fingers crossed) a better year and swimming season in 2021.


It’s hard to stay motivated during a lockdown, I can vouch for that. My saviour had been golf and tennis, sadly both of these have been stopped too. But collectively we all need to find a method of staying physically and mentally active. Continuing to use all the functionality of the Wellness at Home app would definitely help with that motivation, and make that return to the water feel that bit easier, whenever that might be.


Running, walking and cycling can all help to improve swimming ability, and are 3 activities that we can participate in. Remember there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes!


Perhaps using this time to plan a personal improvement programme for the pool once doors reopen would be a good use of time, and a great way to build motivation. That’s where I hope the Swim Mentors (Gareth & Jon) could assist in helping you plan and build that programme.

Let’s think ahead to pools hopefully reopening in December, and hopefully much more sustained swimming activity during 2021.


During December and into the New Year and for many of us (myself included) the appeal of open water becomes somewhat diminished, then it’s time to hit the pool and use that time wisely. Even if you’re strictly a pool swimmer with no competitions or events on the horizon, then absolutely use this time for maximum benefit.


Personal challenge setting is vitally important for staying motivated. During our time as coaches at various levels of the sport here’s some quotes we have heard…

- ‘I want to be able to swim frontcrawl properly’

- ‘I’d like to be able to swim a mile in less than 30 mins’

- ‘I’ve entered a triathlon and need help with my swimming technique’

- ‘I’ve entered an open water event and want to be able to swim frontcrawl for the event’

- ‘I’d like to be able to swim up and down the pool without getting ridiculously out of breath’

- ‘I’d like to be able to swim 400/500m without needing to stop’


Everyone’s challenge is personal to them and whatever it might be, it has a place and can be a real motivator to reach that goal.

In our experience as coaches though, there are many participants that turn up with a personal goal a little bit too late. I remember one lady turning up at the beginning of May with a personal challenge to complete the Great North Swim (1 mile open water) doing frontcrawl.


That swim was taking place within 6 weeks of her 1st session. Needless to say she completed the swim doing breaststroke for that year and then spent the next year training twice and week, she returned the following year at the same event successfully swimming frontcrawl. Our point being plan ahead and be realistic with those goals, unrealistic timeframes can be a real demotivation.


As I was getting to let’s think ahead to the pools reopening – how can we use this time most effectively. There’s a danger that we jump back in and just plough up and down.

There’s a key point to remember – PRACTICE MAKES PERMANENT NOT PERFECT. Perfect practice makes perfect. So jumping back in the pool and potentially ploughing up and down the pool reinforces any bad habits or incorrect techniques we may have. I know for one that I’m extremely lazy with my leg kick, and always breathe too soon off the wall, perhaps a return to the pool is my opportunity to correct these bad habits and start afresh.

Once the pools reopen how can the Swim Mentors assist?


First of all we’d start with a free online zoom consultation. Let us understand what your swimming challenges are, understand your goals, or help you to plan some goals moving forward and how we can get there.

We would do this by helping to fix technical mistakes via video review and consultation once we can swim again. Or perhaps if you already have some video footage of you swimming we can review it for you during this 2nd national lockdown.


We would build a consistent, and well planned training regime ready for our swimming return, along with guided pathways to follow a personalised training programme inclusive of specific coaching tips and technique advice. Once we’re back in the pool we would catch up on a weekly or monthly zoom chat to discuss progress and tweak plans when required. Like the Wellness at Home app, we’re sure we can assist in improving your swimming ability, speed and general performance too and would be excited to work with you to achieve those goals.


Our commitment to you…

- Well designed, varied and tested programmes to take your swimming to the next level whatever you’d like to achieve

- Simple and easy to follow plans with good detail and drill videos where possible

- Individual plans that work around your schedule and time commitments

- Tips of the Month: free technical pointers to allow any Wellness at Home member to improve on a specific area or swim stroke

Please get in touch to organise your Free consultation session at jon_keating@hotmail.com. We’ll come back to you as soon as possible to arrange a Zoom chat with you.

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