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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 and teachers in swimming, including Jon Urbanchek of Michigan; Jack Bauerle, my current coach and head women’s coach for the 2008 US Olympic Team; and of course my mother, Kathy Joyce, who coached me for the first ten years of my career.

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’m on the block before a race, I like to have a clear head. In the 50 and 100 free, I don’t have time to think about technique. When I hear the signal, I just go. The technique has to be automatic.

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 freestyle.