What fastest runner can teach us about swimming

What looks good is usually good. And cheetah on the run is just beautiful.

Nature can be a great inspiration to us, and with a cheetah, the fastest runner on the planet, we can see efficiency, power and speed in practice.

I took the liberty of borrowing part of a video from Greg Wilson (link to the full video below) in which he caught a cheetah running. The cheetah runs at speeds higher than 100km/h (60mph) and at the same time remains relaxed and elegant.

Slow-motion shots can show us how the cheetah naturally uses aerodynamics and biomechanics.

We as swimmers can learn the same principles (and for other physical activities s well). Principles that use the laws of physics and do not fight against them.

Here are some key points we can focus on as swimmers to swim smarter and faster:

  • Stable head position
  • Long spine line
  • Silent and “soft” hand entry into the water
  • Patient leading arm (for stretching the body)
  • Unified movement of the whole body
  • High efficiency (long stroke)

The cheetah does not lose its elegance and softness even at the highest speeds. On the contrary, the faster he runs, the more graceful he looks. And the faster he runs, the longer his stride.

For swimmers, we often see the exact opposite – shortening the stroke and faster and more frantic movement, which leads to large energy losses and inefficient movement.

What a cheetah naturally has, we as swimmers must learn consciously.

Now watch a video with a cheetah and a comparison with swimmers:

Do you want to start learning the same principles that allow you to swim fast and elegantly? If so, start with video Freestyle Mini-Course.

Original video: Cheetahs on the Edge — Director’s Cut by Greg Wels.

Tomas Vojtechovsky
I have been a swim coach since 2004. I live in the Czech Republic. Triathlon brought me to swimming. When I first discovered triathlon in 1996, I fell in love with the sport. But swimming had always been a struggle and frustration. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get any better. So I began my journey by learning how to move through water efficiently and gracefully. I have practiced yoga and tai chi, the Alexander technique, Natural Movement on dry land. In water it was the Art of Swimming. But the greatest difference came with Total Immersion and for several years I had been a certified TI coach. Now I work on my own. I founded and developed the instruction and content for Totální plavání and Smart Swimming.

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