13 Examples of SMART Goals for Swimmers

Whether you’re an aspiring Olympian or a recreational swimmer, having clear goals can push you to new heights in the water. But what sets apart the swimmers who consistently achieve their goals from those who fall short?

The answer lies in the power of SMART goals. In this piece, we will explore 13 examples of SMART goals for swimmers that encompass various aspects of their training and performance.

These goals will inspire swimmers seeking to enhance their skills and achieve remarkable feats in the pool. Let’s jump right in.

What is a SMART Goal?

The SMART framework is a tool for setting goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. These 5 components will help swimmers reach their desired performance:


The more specific the goal is, the easier it will be for swimmers to stay on track. This means that instead of setting a general goal like “I want to swim faster,” they should set a target time or number of strokes per length.

Many swimmers find it helpful to write down their goals for each practice and meet. That could allow swimmers to stay energized and give them a better perspective of their progress throughout the season.


Swimmers must be able to monitor their progress to motivate and assess themselves. That involves recording data such as speed, stroke counts, and time splits for each practice or race.

Doing this will allow swimmers to make changes and adjust their goals accordingly. There will be no guesswork involved along the way.


The goal should be achievable within the time frame and with realistic practice. Swimmers must make sure that their goals are not too difficult or impossible to achieve. 

Suppose a swimmer wants to shave 10 seconds off their 200-meter freestyle time. In that case, they must ensure that it’s possible given the amount of training they can do in the available time frame.


Swimmers must ensure their goals are relevant to their development and swimming career. They should avoid creating goals that don’t contribute to their growth or have no benefit towards achieving their long-term dreams.


You should always set a timeline for your goals. This will keep you on track and give you an idea of when you can expect to reach success.

Establishing a deadline also forces swimmers to act immediately instead of procrastinating. It provides a feeling of urgency and encourages swimmers to work more diligently.

13 Examples of SMART Goals for Swimmers

1. Improve Aerobic Capacity

“I will swim 400m in less than seven minutes by the end of the month. I plan to practice at least twice weekly to improve my aerobics and technique.”

Specific: The goal setter identifies what they aim to achieve: swimming 400m in under 7 minutes.

Measurable: Using a timer, the swimmer can easily measure their progress.

Attainable: This SMART goal is entirely doable with consistent practice and good technique.

Relevant: Aerobic capacity is essential for better performance in the pool.

Time-based: You have until the end of the month to meet this target.

2. Learn a New Stroke

“I want to learn the butterfly stroke by the end of summer. I’ll do this by attending swim classes twice weekly and practicing independently between sessions. I will also watch tutorial videos online to help me understand the technique better.”

Specific: The SMART statement is explicit because it describes how to learn a new stroke.

Measurable: You can track how often they attend swim classes and practice on their own.

Attainable: Learning the butterfly stroke is absolutely feasible within a given time frame.

Relevant: The goal is relevant to learning a new swimming stroke technique.

Time-based: Success should be anticipated by the end of summer.

3. Increase Distance Swam

“The swimmer will be able to swim one lap in the pool without stopping for rest by the end of two weeks. To do so, they will practice and complete a 10-minute swimming session with no breaks every day.”

Specific: The statement here is clear: increase the distance swam without taking breaks.

Measurable: Ensure you complete at least 10 minutes of swimming every day.

Attainable: This goal may be possible for the swimmer if they practice and focus on quality, with no breaks.

Relevant: Increasing swimming distance without stopping is critical in races, competitions, and fitness objectives.

Time-based: There is a two-week end date for meeting this particular goal.

4. Make Healthy Nutrition Choices

“I plan to make healthy nutritional choices for at least 70% of my meals each week within two months. I will decide what to eat a day in advance and stick to that plan. This should allow me to form healthier eating habits and lose weight if necessary.”

Specific: Your goal is well-defined. The individual knows they must make healthy nutrition choices for 70% of their meals weekly.

Measurable: The swimmer will stick to their meal plan and gauge progress over time.

Attainable: You have two months to accomplish the goal, and it should be easier if you plan your meals in advance.

Relevant: Healthy nutrition choices are pertinent to a swimmer’s physical fitness.

Time-based: Goal completion should be anticipated after two months.

5. Enhance Underwater Kicking Skills

“In the three months ahead, I want to focus on improving my underwater kicking skills by swimming for two hours daily. That will build strength and muscle memory, giving me an edge on race day.”

Specific: The SMART goal is centered around mastering a certain skill in swimming.

Measurable: It involves swimming for two hours daily, which can definitely be tracked.

Attainable: With a commitment to swim each day, it’s possible to attain success within three months.

Relevant: Underwater kicking is integral to swimming, so improving the skill is appropriate.

Time-based: The goal should be completed within three months.

6. Strengthen Arms and Shoulders

“I’ll attend two swim classes to build up my arms and shoulders by the end of the month. I also want to make sure to stretch properly after each session.”

Specific: The statement is easy to understand. Strengthen your arms and shoulders by attending two swim classes.

Measurable: Ensure you focus on proper technique and stretching after each session.

Attainable: This is easily attainable if you are committed to practicing proper technique in class and stretching afterward.

Relevant: Strong arms and shoulders will help overall swimming performance, making this a pertinent goal for swimmers.

Time-based: Goal attainment is expected by the end of the month.

7. Practice Proper Breathing Techniques

“You will be able to demonstrate effective breathing techniques for swimming while training in the pool within three months. You’ll practice and perform at least 20 minutes of breathing drills every day.”

Specific: This statement clearly outlines the objective, how to reach it, and when to achieve it.

Measurable: Set aside at least 20 minutes daily to practice breathing drills.

Attainable: The timeline of three months is enough time for the athlete to get the hang of proper breathing techniques in swimming.

Relevant: Proper breathing is essential to become a successful swimmer.

Time-based: There is an end date three months from now to meet success.

8. Develop Mental Toughness

“Over the following two weeks, I plan to practice visualization for thirty minutes a day. I’ll improve my focus in races and help me overcome mental barriers during training.”

Specific: This is about improving focus and mental toughness in races.

Measurable: Practicing visualization for 30 minutes daily will be a good measure of progress.

Attainable: Unlike many other mental barriers, visualization can be refined.

Relevant: Mental strength can help swimmers achieve better results during competitions.

Time-based: Two weeks is enough to accomplish the SMART statement.

9. Achieve Personal Bests

“To improve my swim times, I’ll practice drills to increase my strength and technique in the pool. I hope to break my personal best time for the 100-meter butterfly by the end of three months.”

Specific: The goal is concise, stating precisely what needs to be achieved and how it will be met.

Measurable: By timing each swim, the person will have a way to measure progress.

Attainable: Make sure you practice regularly in the pool to succeed.

Relevant: This relates to improving your swimming performance as you will train for speed and technique.

Time-based: There is a three-month window to reach the goal.

10. Boost Focus and Concentration

“I will take a 10-minute break between swimming sets for two months and exclude any form of distraction (e.g. phone, music).”

Specific: This goal states what needs to be done (take breaks) and how long it should last (10 minutes). It also specifies the exclusion of distractions.

Measurable: Measuring the duration of your breaks on a regular basis.

Attainable: Taking breaks between swimming sets is absolutely doable.

Relevant: Allowing yourself time to rest will boost your focus levels during practice.

Time-based: It sets a two-month period for goal achievement.

11. Perform Faster Turnarounds

“By the end of this season, I can complete turnarounds in less than 5 seconds. I’ll practice flip turns three times a week and time myself during each session. I will also review video footage of my technique and compare it with other swimmers.”

Specific: Practicing flip turns and timing yourself are both clearly laid out.

Measurable: You’ll quantify turnaround time via a stopwatch each practice session.

Attainable: This is an achievable goal, assuming you prioritize reviewing video footage and properly executing the technique.

Relevant: This SMART goal focuses on improving your turnaround technique.

Time-based: You should ideally succeed by the end of your current season.

12. Learn to Visualize Success

“I want to develop the habit of visualizing success before every swim meet within a month. This will enable me to have a better performance in each race.”

Specific: The objective is clear, and you know what action to take to reach it.

Measurable: You can track the improvement in your performance after implementing this technique.

Attainable: This is feasible if enough time and effort is devoted to it.

Relevant: This relates to a swimmer’s performance, which is vital for excellence.

Time-based: Accomplishment of the goal must be met within a month.

13. Participate in a Swim Competition

“Within 6 months, I’ll mentally and physically prepare for a swim competition. I plan to enter the annual regional swim meet in my city and compete against other swimmers in my age group.”

Specific: The aim is to enter a swimming competition after 6 months.

Measurable: Evaluate the swimmer’s fitness level and practice habits regularly.

Attainable: Partaking in a swim meet is feasible with the right level of commitment.

Relevant: Competing in the regional meet likely aligns with the swimmer’s long-term ambitions.

Time-based: This statement has a timeline of 6 months to complete.

Final Thoughts

It’s essential to establish realistic standards to reach your highest potential as a swimmer. Writing SMART goals can provide better clarity and give you an idea of what success looks like.

You should take advantage of the listed goals and strive to excel in the pool. Encourage yourself to take on bigger challenges as your skills improve. Every step forward will grow your confidence and make you a better swimmer.

Just remember to be patient and never give up. Push yourself further, and then you’ll be able to reap the rewards of your hard work.

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Rei Shen

Rei is the founder of Success in Depth. Based in Washington, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He brings years of experience in goal setting to empower readers to reach their aspirations.