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Where is the best place to find technique advice?

Cassie Swimming

Our resident Olympian answers your swimming questions

With so much advice on front crawl technique available online and in books, should I try to find as much information as possible or stick to just one source?

This is a question that I get asked a lot as a coach. The sheer amount of information that you can find when googling front crawl technique is mind-boggling: from scientific articles on the specifics of drag versus propulsion, to videos of seemingly non-swimmers trying to explain the finer details of the catch phase. When trying to learn or perfect a new skill it is important not to get bogged down by trying to absorb all sources of information.

There are some very good swimming technique companies, who can explain the fundamentals of technique in a learner-friendly way. But unfortunately there are other companies and coaches that are not so learner-friendly.

I am not saying that I am the only person who knows how to coach technique. On the contrary, I’m always learning myself. As sport is so closely linked to science, new and more efficient ways of swimming are continuously being discovered.

I believe that a good technique coach should understand not only the stroke, but the way people learn. Everybody learns in a different way, and this should be catered for. Some people learn better through visual demonstrations, others through descriptions.

Finally, it all boils down to personal preference. If your coach is succeeding in helping you become more efficient when swimming, then stick with them. But don’t be scared to move coaches if you feel that your needs are not being met.

"Swimming was my whole life for over 20 years. I poured every ounce of enthusiasm into it. I am so fortunate to have found these new outlets for that enthusiasm." Cassie Patten

Email your questions to: with the subject ‘Coach Cassie’

Cassie Patten won bronze in the first ever Olympic 10km marathon swim, in the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Cassie now coaches and is a frequent commentator at open water events.

Cover September17

Issue 6 September 2017

  • Swim Strong for Life - how to train right every time
  • A Love Letter to Wild Waters - swimming in Orkney
  • Coach's Advice - how to hit your swimming rhythm
  • Stay Safe - tow floats tried & tested
  • Wild Swimming Trips – Ireland and Scotland
  • Plus, wildlife, nutrition, training, event reviews and full event listings

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