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How To Swim Faster

How To Swim Faster

Sometimes we can get a little complacent in the pool. Our technique becomes a habit, and our pace is predictable and unchanging. This is fine if you are a casual swimmer that enjoys it as a leisure activity alone. But if you are looking to burn fat or compete, it’s time to increase that speed.  


Five Simple Steps For How To Swim Faster


Let’s take a closer look at five simple ways you can start smashing your PBs in the pool…  

Check Your Head Position 

This is one of the most fundamental changes you can make to reduce drag in the pool. Our head significantly contributes to our overall centre of balance in daily life, and it’s no different in a pool. Since we are horizontal in the water, when you are propelling yourself forwards – be it breaststroke or crawl – the temptation is to lift your head slightly to look forwards as you do.  

Every inch you lift your head up, your torso, hips and legs will drop further into the water, causing a lot of unnecessary drag. If you keep your eyes down on the pool floor, your body will stay more level and therefore allow you to cut through the water easily, making you quicker.  

Maintain Power Throughout the Whole Stroke 

When you’re fresh, maybe only five or ten lengths into your workout, or three laps into a race, generating power in your strokes is easier since your muscles are far from exhaustion. However, as the session continues and we naturally tire, our stroke can get sloppy and lose conviction. It is important to make sure that you have a way of recognising when this is happening and correct yourself.  

After fifteen or twenty minutes of swimming, focus on every movement, down to your little fingers, coming out of your arms and legs. If they are not optimal or in-sync, correct them. If they are only pushing the water (not pulling through) and fading at the end, correct it. If you get into a routine of being able to address these issues before they creep in and impact your times, your overall technique will sharpen for much longer. 

Ensure You are Fuelled Correctly

When you know you have a big race or intense workout ahead, it is important to get your nutrition right. Consuming carbs the night before (or morning of) will build up the kind of energy store you’ll need for swimming with power and for distance. Pasta as a meal, or malt loaf as a snack, work well. Bananas are always a good fruit to consume an hour or two before, as they release natural energy.  

Lastly, it is a good idea to keep yourself significantly hydrated with water, and possibly try out some pre-workout energy gel. Getting all these facets right outside of the pool is crucial to becoming faster when you are in it. 

Time Yourself & Set Targets 

Having some kind of barometer for our progress is key if we are to follow anything through. Understanding where your current pacing is at, how that fluctuates on any given day (and why), along with how that varies at the beginning and end of a workout is all vital information to track. Once you have a better understanding of your lap or session times, try and chip away at reducing them. If you aim to do fifty lengths in a forty-minute swimming session, aim to do fifty-two next time. It doesn’t sound like much, but this slow accrual of lengths over time will help you to maintain competitive with yourself and soon you will start pushing for sixty lengths in forty minutes! 


Understand Your Joints Better

A lot of power in a stroke can be lost or found in the joint – mainly the knees. Sometimes without realising, we can be a little lazy or premature when it comes to following through and fully extending our legs (or arms). This can be because we think it will make us faster to get into the next stroke more quickly.  

However, if you focus on completing each stroke with perfect execution – as in, following the extension, straightening your knees with the kick – this will deliver a much higher economy of effort. 

We hope these small tips can help you to increase your pace. Try implementing each one over a staggered period and then soon you can try all five tips together to see how much faster you get. Good luck and try not to set the water on fire with your newfound speed!