If you’re not quite sure where to start with your training, we’ve got some killer advice from five-time Olympic gold medallist, all-round swimming legend and Patron of ReachOut, Ian Thorpe AM.

Read on to learn Thorpie’s top training tips for lap-swimming.


Thorpie stresses the importance of setting clear, manageable goals to give yourself direction, focus and motivation. Come up with short-term, medium-term and long-term goals to help you track your progress. So, over the 31 days of Laps for Life in March, think about setting three goals – for the 10-day mark, the 20-day mark and the end of the challenge. That way, you’ll know how you’re tracking and can even give yourself a little boost if you’re lagging behind.


If you’re new to lap-swimming, Thorpie suggests enlisting some mates or even a pro to keep you focused and motivated. Whether you hit the water with some pals, join a swim team or get a coach, it really helps to have someone else in your corner. It also means you’ll have someone by your side when you reach the finish line, which will make the win even sweeter.


It can be disheartening when you head into a challenge all guns blazing and then hit a stumbling block. To avoid early burnout, Thorpie recommends starting off slowly and building on your progress. It’s better to work steadily towards a goal than to push yourself too hard at the beginning and wind up throwing in the towel. You’ve got a month to hit your lap target; there’s no need to rack it up in the first week.


According to Thorpie, swimming becomes a whole lot more interesting once you know how to use the pace clock. These handy devices help to track your overall swim-time, add structure to your workout and keep you a safe distance from the person swimming in front of you. You can learn more about how to use one here, but the main thing is to decide on a pace (e.g. one that will have you pushing off the wall every 60 seconds) and stick to it. Thorpie reckons this’ll spice up your swim sessions and have them flying by.


To stop yourself from calling it quits when the challenge heats up, Thorpie recommends keeping your reasons for swimming front and centre in your mind. You're swimming to save lives.

One young person takes their life every day in Australia – that’s one too many. Thorpie sums it up best when he says, ‘We can all do our bit to change the statistics when it comes to youth suicide. This year, for the very first time, you can do it just by getting in the pool, achieving a new swimming goal and raising funds for Laps for Life.’