Frequently Asked Questions

What is CSS?


CSS is your Critical Swim Speed and is measured as time per 100m.  It’s roughly the speed you can expect to swim 1500m in under race conditions.  It’s similar to your threshold pace for running and biking, and improving your CSS time will see you cut your swim times over all distances of 400m upwards.  The sets we deliver during the group coached sessions are designed specifically to help you develop your CSS pace and make you a faster swimmer.


How will I know what my CSS is?


Your CSS can be calculated by performing a 400m time trial effort followed by a 200m time trial (with a good rest in between!).  The time trials should be carried out at maximal effort.  We will give swimmers the opportunity to test their CSS periodically at our group coached sessions and then calculate your personal CSS based on the times you’ve achieved.  Alternatively, you can carry out the time trials on your own, provide us with the times and we will calculate your CSS for you.  If you don’t have your CSS, don’t worry, we can estimate it for the first few sessions, until you get the chance to test it properly.


Do I need to attend every week?


Consistency in your swimming is important if you want to make real improvements so we recommend attending as regularly as possible.  However, we know that life gets in the way and its not always possible to commit to attending every week.  


What do I need to bring to the group coached sessions?


Other than your usual swim kit, including a swim hat and goggles, you don’t need to bring anything.  We will have other equipment available including fins, paddles, pull buoys and tempo trainers.  That said, supply is limited, so if you do have your own equipment, do bring it along.  We also suggest you bring a drink and keep it with you poolside.


What do I need to bring to the 1:1 swim analysis sessions?


In addition to your swim kit, including a swim hat and goggles, we suggest you bring a t-shirt, spare towel or robe, for your comfort when we are sitting poolside reviewing the video analysis.  You may also like to bring a pair of flip flops or similar.


How fast do I need to be able to swim?


Our group coached sessions cater for all swim speeds.  We will group swimmers into different lanes according to pace and each lane will have a slightly different set, reflecting ability.  We do recommend that you are able to swim 400m continuous front crawl to attend one of our group coached sessions.  If you are not yet able to achieve this, you will definitely benefit from a 1:1 stroke analysis session first.  This session will help you to identify what has been holding you back from swimming continuously and you should expect to see improvements within a few short weeks.  If you’re unsure, please do contact us and you can discuss your specific swimming needs with one of our friendly and experienced coaches.

Are the sessions just front crawl?


The 1:1 stroke analysis sessions and group coached sessions are focused specifically on improving your front crawl technique and fitness.  The group coached sessions may include other strokes (typically back stroke and breast stroke) but this will normally be part of a warm up, cool down or as recovery between front crawl intervals.  If you are unable to perform back stroke or breast stroke for any reason, the sessions can be adapted to suit you.


Can I just book a one-off stroke analysis session?


Yes.  If you are only interested in a single session, we are happy to work with you on a one-off basis. 


However, we do find that long term improvements are best made through attending a series of stroke analysis sessions.  Typically, the first session is a revelation for the swimmer as it is often the first time they have seen themselves swim and there is a lot to take in!  We generally find 2 or 3 priority areas for the swimmer to work on and provide drills and guidance on how to correct their stroke flaws.  After 6-8 weeks, the swimmer is then keen to see how their stroke has changed since the first session and are ready to identify further areas for improvement.  These first two sessions can often lead to quite significant changes in swim stroke, as the swimmer becomes more efficient through the water.  A final session after another 3-6 months is therefore useful to analyse how the stroke has developed and what further tweaks can be made to maximise efficiency and improve speed.  This final session is also where the coach will shift focus towards helping the swimmer understand how to structure their training to continue to improve technique and importantly also their speed and endurance.