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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 freestyle. 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 in swimming, especially my very first coach -- Dave Salo.

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.

When I race, there’s no time to think about technique. The 50 and 100 free are over in a matter of seconds... and the difference between me and my competitors is measured in hundredths of seconds.

When a race is that fast and that close, technique has to be automatic. You have to take care of the technique in practice so that it’s there for you when you race.

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.

And 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.

If you take care of the technique in practice... when you dive in for a race, it can be all about racing... or your team... or your country. And that’s a great feeling.

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