Get Your Reps In

Pop quiz: What does Vin Diesel’s character in the movie Knockaround Guys have to do with your success in the pool?

Answer: Everything!

Let me explain…

For those of you who haven’t seen Knockaround Guys, or who don’t really remember the movie (it did come out in 2001, after all), it revolves around a group of young mobsters who go out to Montana to recover some lost money.

In the course of trying to track down the moola, the four New York mobsters end up at a hole-in-the-wall bar, where Vin Diesel’s character, Taylor Reese—the muscle of the group, comes nose-to-nose with the town’s local tough guy, Brucker.

get your reps in

Here is how the exchange went from there:

Taylor: Five hundred.

Brucker (spits chew at Taylor’s feet): Five hundred what, dirtbag?

Taylor: Five hundred fights. That’s the number I figured when I was a kid. 5 hundred street fights and you could consider yourself a legitimate tough guy. You need them for experience to develop leather skin, so I got started. Along the way you forget about being tough and all that, it stops being the point. You look past the silliness of it all but then you realize that’s what you are.

And what happens next?


Vin Diesel’s character kicks the dude’s butt all over the place.

(It’s Vin Diesel, of course that would happen.)

So why am I telling you about this?

There is a very important takeaway from this scene that you can directly apply to your swimming.

(Or anything else you want to achieve for that matter…)

To get good at anything, whether it is punching dudes in the face or crushing your best times, you need to get your reps in.


You can read about the best way to swim fast, watch swimming technique videos on YouTube until your data goes broke, but without getting your hands dirty and doing the thing, you will never become that thing.

Vin Diesel’s character understood that in order to be the toughest guy on the block he would have to get into 500 street fights.

He would have to get his reps in.

This is no different for you and the things you want to achieve in the pool.

After all…

  • If you want to be the fastest kicker in the pool you will have to do the reps of extra kick work.
  • If you want to be the swimmer that finishes every race like a boss you will have to do the reps of showing up every time the main set is scrawled up on the board.
  • If you want to be the swimmer who is in crazy shape you will have to do the reps of showing up to morning workouts.

Will you get your reps in?

Will you show up and be the toughest and fastest swimmer in the pool?

Will you do what is necessary to be great, whatever greatness means in your case?

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Olivier Poirier-Leroy Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.

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