Simon Ward, The High Performance Human Triathlon Podcast

How to really swim faster - elite swim coach reveals his secrets * Russ Barber

February 2, 2022

Every time I open a Facebook chat room I see at least one thread on swim technique. Much of it is nonsense and overly focussed on elements that will have only a minor impact. You’ve heard me say many times that before you put the icing on the cake, you have to make the cake. This means working on the fundamentals. In today's podcast, I’ll be chatting with Russ Barber, swim specialist for British Triathlon who is working specifically with the high performance athletes at the Leeds Triathlon Centre.

Russ and I are going to be chatting about what is really important if you want to improve your swimming. So, if this is you, please set aside an hour and get your notebook out. It's a great conversation and, like all Yorkshiremen, Russ tells it straight. We cover:

  • The 3 elements Russ looks for first when working with a new swimmer
  • Swim drills you should AVOID (and why), and which ones you should continue with
  • Kicking - why it's CRITICAL for a good stroke, and why it MUST be part of your workouts
  • Polarised training for swimmers
  • One set you must include in EVERY swim workout
  • The benefits of using ankle bands
  • Some tips for open water swim training


Russ doesn’t really do social media but he does a swim coach education network on:

Twitter - @Russ_SCNetwork

Facebook -

LinkedIn -


Topics we chatted about in the podcast:

Alexander Popov swimming technique

Video 1

Video 2

Popov Documentary

Swimming with an ankle band- why you need to keep a high cadence

Kick on side drill

Russ also recommended the following two books

'The Storyteller' - Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) - I’m currently reading this one. It’s great!

‘Relentless' - Alistair Brownlee - You can hear Al talk about writing this book in a recent podcast HERE

Take a 30 day trial in my SWAT Inner Circle for just £1. Watch this video for more information.

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Visit Simon's website for more information about his coaching programmes.  Links to all of Simon's social media channels can be found here.  For any questions please email

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