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The best way for you to improve as a swimmer is to listen to your coach. But not even the best coach can watch every swimmer all the time. It’s up to you to pay attention to details, and to the focus points that will make you faster.

In this video, I’ll share with you the six most important things I think about when I swim backstroke. These are the six key focus points that work for me -- and that I hope will work for you.

I learned these focus points and techniques from some of the best coaches and teachers in swimming, including Dave Marsh, former coach at Auburn University; Sean Hutchison, my current coach at King Aquatic Club and assistant coach for the 2008 US Olympic Team; and my club coach, Keith Anderson.

As you watch the video, remember that I didn’t learn these skills overnight. I’ve spent thousands of hours perfecting each one, and I’m still learning.

Every time I go to the pool I work on technique... so that I don’t have to worry about it when I race. For me, practice is when you practice. Meets are when you race.

I love to race. Racing is why I swim. So when I’m on the blocks in a big meet, I’m not really thinking about the details. I’m getting mentally ready to do what I know how to do.

When you try these focus points for yourself, It’s best not to think about all of them at the same time. Try to focus on one specific thing each day.

When you work on these techniques, it should always be in addition to what your coach is asking you to do... not in place of.

All great swimmers will tell you: Don’t just do what’s asked of you, Always do just a little bit more.

If you do this every day, you’ll step to the blocks with confidence in yourself and your training.

OK. Let’s look at the six key focus points that work for me in backstroke.