5 steps to becoming an elite swimmer

So you’ve learned to swim and have joined one of the hundreds of swimming clubs in England. What’s the next step to becoming an elite swimmer?

It’s not an easy pathway – only the fiercest, strongest and most committed athletes make it to the top of the sport!

It may be your dream to stand on the blocks at the Olympic Games, buzzing from the noise of the packed-out crowd as you prepare to race for Team GB and a place in the history books.

But guess what? It’s also the dream of the swimmer in the lane next to you! And probably the swimmer in the lane next to them as well…

So keep your head down, listen to your coach, don’t take anything for granted and follow our 5 steps to becoming an elite swimmer.

Becoming an elite swimmer

  1. Make it to nationals – the first big target for any young swimmer is to make it to the pinnacle of the sport in England and swim at nationals – either the British Summer Championships or the Swim England National Summer Championships. Whether it be qualifying through your individual ranking or with a relay team, competing at your first nationals is a huge step on the road to becoming an elite swimmer and a memory even the best international athletes never forget!
  2. Ace it at nationals – once you’ve qualified for nationals, the next step is reaching that podium. If you’re serious about becoming an elite swimmer, it should be your goal to touch the wall first in every race! A medal at nationals should also put you high in the age group rankings for the year and in the frame for selection to the England Talent national talent squads.
  3. Train with the best – Swim England has 10 regional Beacon Programme sites across the country where the very best senior and junior swimmers are invited to train with some of the top coaches in England. Give yourself the best chance of progressing by swimming in world class facilities and training with those who share your winning attitude.
  4. Fine tune your technique – while your coach will always be working on ways to improve your form, try and secure a place on the regional and national England Talent training camps where some of the top coaches in England can give you feedback and advice.
  5. Compete abroad – you might be one of the best junior swimmers in the country, but how do you stack up against rivals from further afield? Racing at international competitions, away from home comforts and your coach, can be a challenging process but one that will improve your mental toughness and experience. Both British Swimming and England Talent Swimming select junior squads to compete at international competitions every year.
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