The Four Pillars of Swimming

The Four Pillars of Swimming

I. Breath

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Swimming is a heavy cardio workout being that its full body – chest, legs, arms, core all engaged. A stead and controlled breath is necessary and paramount.  No other exercise requires breath awareness so vitally as swimming.

Ultimately connecting your movement to breathing increases your efficiency and aerobic condition. This is one of the biggest benefits of exercise for exercise, the learning to control your breath.

Breath bridges the gap between body and spirit.

In swimming we don’t breath with shallow or short breaths. We breath deep and long in our chest.

In  our daily lives, our  breath is passive and something we hardly listen to. In swimming we wake up our awareness to our breath and begin breathing actively. Our breath deepens as the mind takes over control. Typically this is a relaxing activity.

Watch Breathing Video

II. Technique


To begin  – get to know yourself. Self evaluation and self awareness are the keys to progress. Know your strengths, establish your areas of improvement.

Too often swimmers apply to much force to the water with thrashing movements, they don’t feel the water and aren’t working with a slow, controlled motion.

The most efficient swimmers look effortless in the water, achieving this by incorporating their whole body.
Aim to find a balance between force and pressure on the water.

Good swimming  feels like dancing, fluid and rhythmic. Find a rhythm and flow within consecutive strokes.

Technique is the first pillar of swimming – showing a swimmer’s consciousness and intelligence about their movements.

Technique works the correct muscles, gaining maximum return for effort and avoiding injury.

Technique and posture stay with you when you exit the water.

Vitality and health come from understanding one’s own body. You can benefit from all aspects of swimming at whatever level you are at.

Watch Body Position Video

The Four Pillars of Swimming

III. Flexibility


Swimmers are know for having great flexibility.
Being dense, heavy, and tight does not correlate to buoyancy. Being able to stretch long and having an increased range of motion allows for elongation and buoyancy.

Aim to swim with long strokes. Don’t swim sitting into your hips, or with bent short arms. Like jogging or walking with a long gait, mimic this in your swim.

Our bodies are our vehicles to sense the world and the water, try to find flexibility and grace in your motions.

We store emotions, stress, and anxiety in our bodies causing stiffness. When we check in with ourselves, we find letting and opening up dualy befits our minds and bodies. Suspended in water, our bodies may feel the lightest and most flexible as they ever will, in this anti-gravity environment, water, challenges us to reach farther, taller, and feel fuller.

Watch Leila’s Stretching Video

The Four Pillars of Swimming

IV. Strength


Swimmers bodies are both lean an strong.

Strength and power can be achieved by routinely challenging your limits, whether it be kicking stronger, pushing at a higher heart rate, or increasing the intensity and duration of your swims these all lead to strength.

Consistency allows for your motions to be stronger. Effort at a higher consistent rate leads to strength.

Swimming routinely strengths our veins, our resolve, and our inner spirit. Through disciplined consistent swimming you can find strength .











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Leila blogs about swimming technique, her swimwear design, and featuring news clips.