Skip to content

8 Key Factors in Achieving Competition Success

Learn about the 8 key factors to consider during the next swim training to help achieve competition success on the quest for the podium.


With championship season upon us, athletes are starting to consider what comes next. Some athletes are riding the wave of a successful season, and are thinking about how to maintain the momentum next season, while others are underwhelmed by their performances and looking for ways to be better prepared next year.   

Throughout history, there have been many schools of thought on how athletes can best prepare themselves for championship season. The challenge is that most of these strategies focus on the hours, days and weeks leading up to the event. It's important to make sure your mind and body are prepared, but it takes more than that to win. Using technology can help ensure that every measure has been taken, so the podium is in focus when championship season approaches. The key is to really understand and evaluate performance throughout the entire season, so you can be confident leading up to the race, knowing you have prepared for the event.

We have assembled the top 8 points to consider in your quest for podium status at the next championship event:  

1. Start preparing right away 

It’s never too early to start preparing for competition success. In fact, starting right at the beginning of the season is best, since there's more time to analyze data, find opportunities and act on them.

When looking for opportunities to optimize strokes it can take months to make the incremental improvements consistently. If this process is started too late, it may not leave enough time to perfect your new approach.

2. Make checking the data a routine

Having data available for every race makes it easy to regularly check for performance changes; the key is in remembering to do so. Because the technology is new, the routine of reviewing and analyzing sets against one another to find areas of weakness to work on is not ingrained in athletes yet. It’s important to check data at a minimum on a weekly basis (but ideally after each practice) to quickly recognize areas for improvement.

3. Know all your numbers

Every elite swimmer knows their times, stroke counts, splits, and breath counts, but these don’t always show underlying techniques. The key to improving is to get familiar with the lesser-known metrics: Stroke Index, Distance Per Stroke, Stroke Rate, Turn Times, Push-off Strength and Time Underwater.

8 Key Factors in Achieving Competition Success - Infographic

4. Understand strengths and weaknesses

Once you’re familiar with the numbers, the next step is to really understand how the numbers correlate to performance. Being able to recognize peaks and dips in these numbers will quickly highlight areas to focus on when testing new strategies. For instance, look for consistent dips in a certain lap of a race, or consistently longer turns or shorter underwater times, especially on longer races. Some swimmers excel at high stroke rates, getting much better distance per stroke, while others require faster repetition, and have the endurance to back it up.

5. Compare yourself to pros

Another way to find areas ready for improvement is to compare your performances against races swam by world class athletes. The TritonWear platform gives all athletes and coaches access to many elite match-ups from NCAA races, World Championships, Trials, and the Olympics. The platform can be used to compare the performance of an individual against the entire race, or against one of their heroes. Understanding how the pros differ will provide a clear direction on how to perfect technique to compete at that level.

6. Focus on optimising weak points

With data in hand, and an understanding of weak points, it’s time to strategize a plan to improve. Come up with a few different theories to test over the course of a few months. Introduce incremental changes to technique, to quickly identify if a given theory is working. Be prepared to pivot to another strategy if targets are not being met.

7. Set realistic targets

Rome wasn’t built in a day; and performance improvements won’t come all at once, or even as quickly as desired. Be reasonable when planning improvement strategies: there's a fine balance between setting stretch goals and setting the bar too high. Be fair so there are quick wins during moments of frustration. The key is to keep it challenging but attainable, so motivation is maintained. Set short and long term targets, so there's small wins to celebrate along the path to achieving the ultimate goals.

8. Test your strategies

Not every strategy will work for every athlete. It is important to test strategies along the way, seeing what works for your swimming style, physical strengths, and weaknesses. Some things will work better than others, which will become apparent the longer this approach is employed. Don’t go into the process with expectations, but instead let the data guide the way.

These tips don’t just apply to preparing at the elite levels. The same concepts work for younger swimmers just figuring out their technique, as well as mid-level swimmers looking to move up into the high performance field. No matter the calibre of swimmer, using technology can help make sure that when championship season rolls around, you’re poised and ready to take it on with confidence.

Download our How to Swim Faster ebook to find more training tips and comprehensive advice on swimming faster, or subscribe to our Knowledge Hub to receive content straight to your inbox. 

Katie Marr

With 12+ years in sales and marketing and over 20 in competitive swimming, Katie brings a wealth of knowledge to direct both the Marketing and Sales teams at TritonWear. Her strategic guidance helps the teams position TritonWear as a solution to many of the most prominent concerns affecting the competitive swimming community today.

Latest Articles

Using Energy, Distance and Rest to Unlock Intensity

Using Energy, Distance and Rest to Unlock Intensity

Intensity provides a detailed breakdown of athlete effort . Dive in to learn how energy system usage, distance, and rest impact training in...

A Coach's Guide to Energy Zones in Swimming

A Coach's Guide to Energy Zones in Swimming

Everything you need to know about energy zones in swimming. What are they, how can you use them, and how can AI help automate them? No test...

How to Use Heart Rate Training in Swimming?

How to Use Heart Rate Training in Swimming?

Transform swim training with real-time heart rate and automated training zones. Know precisely what energy systems your swimmers use and sh...