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Swimming Psychology - improve your swim performance with Sports Psychology

The swimming world has been slower than some sports to involve Sports Psychologists to help swimmers to perform better and more consistently. They can help in many other ways too.

Get in touch to book your sports psychology consultation for swimming - in London UK, by video call or telephone

Swimming is a physical sport, there is no doubt about this. When you swim, your physiology is challenged, especially when you swim hard (intensely) and/or far. Your mind has a lot to contend with too.


Before a race, your mind goes into overdrive thinking about how you will do, how others will do... You will likely experience an increase in stress, anxiety and agitation. In the race you have plenty of time to think. To think constructive thoughts. To focus on what is helpful. Or, to wind yourself up more. Distract yourself from what helps your swim, onto what is not going to help... When you swim, you are always thinking. 

Open water swim events have some different challenges - salt water, wetsuits, navigation, currents, waves, drafting, being hit by other swimmers (accidental?)...

Having raced triathlons for 20 years, including races at European and World level, I have plenty personal experience of managing swim performances (and training sessions), in the pool, rivers, lakes and the sea.

As a Sports Psychologist, I have helped many swimmers over the years to better manage their mind, their swim meets and their performances.

The best swimmers have excellent physiology, which is well trained, but they also have developed effective psychological skills to manage their life as a swimmer, so they can execute their peak performance when it counts.


On this page, you will learn:

Ten ways Sports Psychology can help your swimming


  1. Manage pre-meet tension and worry so you arrive at your competition fresh, ready and keen to race

  2. Focus on the elements that are key for your optimum performance, without getting distracted by irrelevant factors or what others are up to

  3. Develop routines for before heats and finals, plus any down time, so you gain more control and consistency over your performances

  4. Better manage your emotions (stress, frustration, anger...) associated with competition

  5. Develop bullet-proof confidence in your ability, performance and bounce-back-ability following any setbacks

  6. Set effective goals for the year, month and next training session to shape your behaviour and focus, leading you to faster improvement

  7. Become clearer about why you race, what motivates you, setting-up training and racing to foster maximum motivation

  8. Develop images and visualise your performance, to better manage performances and increase confidence

  9. Process injuries so they do not hold you back

  10. Manage periods of poor form so you get back to your best

There are many other ways that sports psychology can help your swim performances. I list these 10 ways to give you some ideas. Maybe within this list you are seeing some ways that I as a sports psychologist can help you. Get in touch, to find out how I can help.

10 ways sports psychology can help your swimming - swimmers
stress nerves tension fear swimming sport psychology psychologist

Manage your swimming nerves and stress

Usually, pre-race tension builds in the hours and days before an important (to you) event. Your mind, diet and sleep are all affected by your rising levels of stress.

Your frame of mind has a large bearing on how you perform and the outcome of your race (your times, position, enjoyment, misery...).

Your performance can be affected to a large extent by how stressed you are during the event (e.g., your race weekend). By stressed, I mean:

  • How much tension you hold in your muscles. Tension will impair your movements and biomechanics – causing you swim less efficiently.

  • How much adrenaline is coursing through your veins: some is good, too much and this can put you out of your comfort zone, distracting you from executing your race strategy, as you wonder what on earth is going on with your body.

  • How positive you are: are you expecting things to go badly, to start poorly, lose your googles, to go behind, let yourself or others down, make a fool of yourself…? Lining yourself up for a self-fulfilling prophecy!



If you wait for race day to start managing your stress, you will almost certainly be too late to do anything significant about it - particularly if you have not developed robust stress management strategies to draw on. 

I have developed a Sport Stress Management Program it is available to download straight-away, to tackle your stress, anxiety, panic, tension… for your swimming. The program is available to download straight-away. It addresses the three important areas:

  1. Physical tension (with not just one, but three proven physical relaxation techniques)

  2. Stress-related thinking

  3. Unhelpful stress-related behaviour (what you do or don’t do)

This program is based on the stress management courses that I researched, developed and taught within the NHS. It is based on what works. You can get this all for less than £20. It comes with a no quibble, 100% money-back guarantee. That is because I am confident that it will help you. Go ahead and order your stress solution today.

Alternatively, if you want more tailored help for any of these areas, in London, or wherever you are by a remote consultation, then get in touch.

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