What Is That One Thing?

For those of us looking to do super-sweet stuff with our swimming, we tend to breakdown what needs to be done and go into list mode.


I want to crush my 100 backstroke best time, so I need to…

  • Improve my dolphin kicks.
  • Improve my back kick.
  • Improve my starts.
  • Faster rotation on my turn.
  • Improve my nutrition.
  • And on and on and on…

When you start thinking about the things you can improve, you will literally never run out of ideas.

SEE ALSO: 5 Motivational Swimming Posters to Get You Fired Up

There is always going to be a kajillion little things you can do to be better.

And getting caught up in this is dangerous…

Because soon enough that list will be so long, so unbelievably impossible, so overwhelming in scope and size, that you can’t help but grow discouraged and disheartened.

What is the One Thing That Will Have the Biggest Impact on Your Swimming


At last week’s Pan American Games Brazil’s Joao De Lucca turned a tentative 6th after the first 50m of the men’s 200m freestyle final.

Given the caliber of the field, including experienced American national team members Michael Weiss and Michael Klueh, most onlookers would have been forgiven for thinking he was out of it.

Instead, De Lucca charged back, splitting a sub-27 second split on the final 50m to win gold.

When interviewed afterwards, De Lucca pointed out that he had cut back on junk food and partying in order to focus more diligently on his goals in the pool.

“It’s days like today you see how important it is to not do certain things.”

If there is one thing you can take away from this (besides not eating junk food and being out late at night with your friends when you are training the next morning), it’s this…

Being successful in the pool doesn’t necessarily mean being great at 100 different things.

You don’t even need to be great at 10 or 20 things.

In fact, the big thing that is standing between you and the next level in your swimming isn’t a laundry list of things you need to do…

It’s that one thing.

That one thing, that if you changed, would send out a ripple effect so powerful that it would end up changing your swimming in more ways than you can possibly imagine.

And it doesn’t have to be a massive thing, either.

And that’s the secret power behind it…

Because that one thing is usually a cornerstone of your swimming, something that once you change or improve begins to infect and bleed into the rest of your swimming.

Here are a couple examples…

  • If you become absolutely diligent on getting your 8 hours of sleep you will not only recover faster, but you will also train better at your next workout, be in a better mood, cope with stress better, and so on. The effects of getting a good night’s sleep every night go far beyond just being rested.
  • If you promise to never miss a morning workout, not only will you be more consistent in training, but the dedication that it takes to never roll over on the alarm will encourage you to be more disciplined in other areas of your life and swimming as well. Soon enough that discipline will begin to appear when you want to do extra core work, or eat better, and so on.

When you pick that one thing, everything else sort of falls into place.

For me, that one thing was being honest with myself about my workouts.

Which meant writing them out…

Ranking myself in terms of effort…

And seeing exactly where I was doing well, and where I wasn’t.

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

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