SWIMMERS: Good swimmers vs Great swimmers

Don Henshaw

Longtime and recently retired University of Georgia Bulldogs coach Jack Bauerle has seen a lot of fast swimming over the years. 


7-time NCAA team champion. 175 individual NCAA titles. Assistant coach on the US Olympic team staff in 2000, 2004, 2012, 2016, and 2020. 


As head coach of the US Olympic women’s team at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, he coached the American women to a dominant and golden performance, with the women winning 14 gold medals, the most of any country.


Having coached countless greats over the years, including Chase Kalisz, Kristy Kowal, Olivia Smoliga, Allison Schmitt, and many others, he noticed that there was a thread that connected the swimmers that progressed from good to great:


“The difference between good swimmers and great swimmers is that when a great swimmer is having a bad day, they never let it affect their physical or mental state,” says Bauerle. “They might be slower in the water and suffer the effects of hard training, but they will always hold themselves accountable. Consistency is the name of the game.”


Elite swimmers understand the importance of maximizing performance on the good days… but especially on the bad days. 


That’s where the golden sauce is truly made. 


Because every swimmer is going to experience the dips and lows over the course of a season or training cycle. 


You’re stressed out. Got a lot going on with school, family, work. Stroke feels off. Slept like hot garbage last night. Big exam tomorrow. Competitor suddenly puts up blinding times. 


But being consistent and elite-minded even when your swimming is off, or you are having a bad day, separates the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” swimmer from “gonna winna lotta” swimmer. 


Be accountable to your goals.


Be consistent with your mindset. 


And work on making the bad days a little more good. 


See you in the water,




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