The Benefits of Swimming with others – Join a group or squad to meet your goals

As we move into a new year many people would have set themselves fresh challenges and goals.  In our experience swimming and triathlon are one of the things that are frequently chosen as challenges, be it after a drunken new years discussion with friends through to an individual goal that you have always wanted to achieve.

So with the swim in mind how do we take those good thoughts, goals and dreams and turn them into a reality?  Here are SWS’s top tips and some pitfalls to avoid…..

With the goal or event decided upon, one of the biggest mistakes a swimmer can make is to train by just swimming endless lengths alone with no real purpose or focus.  This can (and for the new swimmer, will) give some instant results due to building a good level of base fitness. However, many swimmers find that they stagnate quickly, reaching a plateau where no matter what they do things do not improve,  or just run the risk of becoming bored of going to the pool by themselves with no interaction with other swimmers or a coach to share their frustration.

A great way to avoid the pitfalls of ‘Junk Mileage” increase your motivation and reach your potential is to find a great group of likeminded people to swim with. You will find this in abundance in any good swim squad set up.

Some athletes may find the thought of joining a squad daunting.  If you have not swum in a squad environment before then you won’t know what to expect, you may think all the swimmers within that squad are Michael Phelps esq swimmers knocking out constant PB’s whilst training,  or you may think the coach is some sadistic individualthat just likes to inflict pain and suffering with a stone cold face. These are just two of the comments I have received in the past after an athletes first session. In reality a squad is full of like minded athletes who are looking to improve their swimming and be the best THEY can be (certainly in our squads, and I am not that sadistic coach either, honest).  So DON’T LET YOUR  INITIAL THOUGHTS PUT YOU OFF!!  Find a squad and give it a go, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, you will never know if you don’t give it a go. Its also worth highlighting that all coaches are different and have a different approach that may suit (or not suit) the athlete so after a few sessions if you find a particular session or set up is not right for you, then simply look for another to try.

South West Swim Squads

Our South West Swim squads cover all abilities and we coach relative beginners through to channel swimmers, Ironman and endurance athletes.  It is our philosophy that all athletes swim in the same session, to the same session plan, just altered in distance for your experience and in ability guided lanes.  Why do we coach everybody in the same squad?  We believe that everybody can learn from each other, the faster swimmers can sometimes learn a lot from the beginner and vica versa.  

Swimming can be one of the most amazing social experiences when you find, and swim with a group of like minded athletes.  Swimming in a Group / squad environment gives you many benefits aside from the coaching input you will be receiving in the sessions.  You will get to meet new people, train with others who may be doing the same (or similar) events as you, get pushed a little more than you would just by swimming on your own.  Importantly all good squads must have some fun on the way to achieving great things, this is a hobby for the vast majority of us and enjoyment is key.  Many of our squad swimmers go on to become friends and event buddies, and train together year round both in and out of our squad sessions, making friends for life.

South West Swim – It’s NOT Masters Swimming

Our squad training specialises in Front Crawl, Open Water Swimming, Triathlon Swimming or for those that just want to train (or start) training for fitness and fun.  We are not a ‘masters squad’, which are usually geared to pool based athletes targeting shorter pool based events in all four strokes and may not be effective training for a swimmer looking to compete in their first Triathlon, through to Ironman or Channel swimming.  However, If you are currently swimming in a masters set up, the addition of our training sessions and training methods can dramatically improve your swimming, especially over distance. South West Swim Sessions are geared towards the actual events you will be swimming in both stroke and distance. We use methods of training not generally used in masters squads such as CSS based training sessions and testing, which are great for improving pacing and endurance in events over 400m/800m upwards.

So for targeted, effective training that will maximise your chances of achieving your goals try one of our SWS squad sessions. I am sure you will love it and benefit from it for years to come.  

More information on South West Swim squads can be found on our website at

In order for  you to see what we do and how we do it at South West Swim we offer a 4 sessions for £20 ‘Try Us Out’ Package for new squad swimmers, so you can book into 4 sessions and see how we work and if its right for you.