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Swimming Streamline - #1 Most Important Skill for Swim Speed

Stew smith

Streamline Glide Position, Stroke Technique, Conditioning (1,2,3)

 Streamline glide, tight arm recovery, power kick and pull = speed

I train many athletes who have spent a lifetime on land as they prepare for military and special ops professions that require swimming, diving and other pool skills. It’s important for them to learn the sequence and timing of each stroke.

Getting in swimming shape is really important, but learning how to properly streamline your body in the water is critical to making progress as you build speed and overall efficiency.

If I had to categorize the three most important abilities in the water it would be streamline position, technique of the stroke, and swim conditioning that will lead to a candidates success with military spec ops swimming.  Of course water confidence is just as important as all three of the above.

However, a good streamline is simply the best body position during the stroke that will produce the least drag. Since water is hundreds of times more dense than air, the position your body holds in the water will make or break your ability to meet any military swimming program’s standards.

(see full article featured on

 It is NOT all CSS Swimming, you need treading, floating, and
water confidence skills as well. 

Shoulder, hips, and ankle mobility seem to be the biggest culprits to performing a solid streamline position.  Most of these are heavy lifting athletes that need to work on mobility and flexibility more often as part of their daily training regimen.  You should also do a full training session focusing of the following cardio, flexibility, and swimming events:

Mobility / Swim / Tread / Drown-proof Day

Here is how our "easy day" goes that will help you with these streamline positions in the water:

Repeat 5 times
5 min non-impact cardio (moderate pace)
5 min Stretching shoulders, back, chest, arms, legs, hips, ankles / feet. 
(focus on your weaknesses each time  / body sections each round)

Swim 10 minute Warmup - Easy swim - loosen up. 
Tread 10 minutes (with hands only and without hands) - this will work both hips and shoulders when practicing various movements to stay on the surface.
Dynamic Stretches 10 minutes in chest deep water - Everything you can think of while standing in the shallow end. (Ideas)

Drownproofing workout - see link - This is an important skill for spec ops candidates, but it is also a great way to work hip mobility. On Mobility Days, we will do this workout that mixes in some conditioning swims alongside challenging events of the drownproofing tests:

Swim and Drownproofing Events Workout
(tied hands / feet are simulated)

It's best if this is done in a 9-ft. deep pool with simulated tied hands for DP events in bold italics.

Swim 100 meters freestyle of side stroke

Bottom bounce 2 minutes

Swim 100 meters freestyle of side stroke

Float 2 minutes

Swim 100 meters freestyle of side stroke

Travel 100 meters (only using dolphin kick)

Swim 100 meters freestyle of side stroke

Front flip. Start flip off bottom of the pool and repeat 2-3 times in 2 minutes.

Swim 100 meters freestyle of side stroke

Back flip. Start flip off bottom of the pool and repeat 2-3 times in 2 minutes.

Swim 100m freestyle of side stroke

Mask Retrieval (pick up mask with teeth from bottom of the pool)

These are all of the events of the Navy SEAL Drownproofing test, but let's add in a few more events.

Swim 100 meters freestyle of side stroke

Tread holding 5-10 lbs. weight (mix of no hands snd one hand) for 2 minutes

Swim 100m freestyle of side stroke

Simulate buddy breathe with snorkel while treading on the surface (AF PJ test) for 2 minutes.

Swim 100 meters freestyle of side stroke

- Never swim alone.

A Break-Through Workout For Aspiring Special Ops Candidates Seeking to Crush the Swim of the PST

 More Options Available at

Try Workout Programming Specifically Designed for any Tactical Fitness Goal:

Which Program is Right For Me - Special Ops Candidates 



Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1 Beginner Weeks 1-9 
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3 - Intermediate Weeks 1-12
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4 Grinder PT - Four weeks before Hell Week


Navy SEAL Weight Training Book
Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness Book

The Pipeline of Training Options: 


It depends:  The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness is a classic and focuses on high rep calisthenics and running and swimming base.  You will build up your running over 12-18 weeks to 20 miles but very fast paced focus on both the 1.5 mile run for the PST and the 4 mile timed run for weekly run test at BUDS. If you are an athlete with a strong power / strength background in lifting and not running or swimming, Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you. IF you need some place to start Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you as well because a calisthenics base / running / swimming progression is a good place to build a foundation.  Though you will likely need to spend some time in the Navy SEAL Weight Training Book OR if Navy SEAL FItness is too challenging, go with Navy SEAL SWCC, EOD, Diver, PST Phase 1 Workout.  Phase 1 is a good starting point if Navy SEAL Fitness program is too tough. 

Navy SEAL Weight Training - This is part two (winter lifting phase) of my SEAL Prep program. If you have done the Navy SEAL Fitness (12 weeks to BUDS) program a few times and need a break, this is the next program that integrates lifting with the Navy SEAL Prep training. 

Special Ops – Most of my programs tend to focus on getting TO and THROUGH a specific tactical training program. So you may see a mix of all the seasons in some of these books, but if you are training long term, you can take advantage of Seasonal Periodization and save yourself some of the over-use, long term pains that tend to follow many of the tactical preparations - especially on the spec ops level of training. 

Start training today with workouts that focus on the specifics of getting to and through tactical profession training from firefighter, police, swat, military to special ops. We have programs to help you get TO and THROUGH training.


Seasonal Tactical Fitness Programs 

Especially These That Are Used For Local Spec Ops Candidates Last Year


Tactical Fitness Series - Tactical Fitness, Tactical Strength, and Tactical Mobility is an ALL-encompassing program that focuses on lifting, calisthenics, run, ruck, swim, speed, agility, and flexibility / mobility. Many people focusing on USMC (OCS, RECON, MarSOC) Army Ranger / SF, Air Force Special Warfare, SWAT / Federal Law Enforcement, and Navy Special Warfare have done very well focusing on the Tactical Fitness Series and developing themselves into an all-round Tactical Athlete

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Stew Smith Training programs. 

Stew Smith Fitness Membership – You have access to years of workouts for both beginner / intermediate and advanced / special ops levels of fitness. Each week you will receive new and unpublished workouts being tested by Navy SEAL veteran / Stew Smith CSCS and his local group of future tactical professionals in both basic training and advanced spec ops training programming. The latest videos, articles, and other programming will be part of the weekly data feed to members as well. We go through the Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization program one week at a time.

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Over weight? Out of Shape? Not meeting personal and professional standards of fitness and health? Try some one - on - one personalized assistance with your training goals and consider Online Coaching by Stew Smith CSCS. No matter what your goals, you and Stew will create a program together that works for you. 

VIDEO TESTIMONIAL:  Jim started with me several years ago needing help with his fitness and health. Over the years, we became friends and even business partners on a few joint ventures - I still send him weekly workouts. Here is a video testimonial that was placed in the middle of his podcast - I was shocked but wanted to share as it is a great story and quite typical of clients on any of the Online Training Programs.

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