You may be thinking, well duh it’s easy to swim faster…. As someone who did not grow up in the water – I grew up in the UK, I am not a natural mermaid, so learning to swim faster has been a challenge for me.
I only became a proper freestyle (head in the water) swimmer in November 2016, so I am talking about my experience over the last 7 months, as well as tips I have got from swimming friends and coaches.
Top 8 Tips to Swim Faster
- Get lessons from a swimming coach or a friend who has MUCH more experience than you. The great thing about lessons is that someone forces you to practice the same thing over and over again, and more importantly can see if you are doing it right or wrong. Once you know what to do you can take it to the pool or ocean on your own
- Master the breathing, head in the water breathing is more efficient than head out of the water. Plus if you can bilateral breathe (that’s breathing on both sides) it is better for you, as a) you see more with each breath, but also if you are in the ocean and it’s rough you can just breath on the other side instead of taking a mouth full of sea water with each breath.
- Try to not lift your head too far out of the water with each breath, as this slows you down…. I am very bad at this. You want to basically still have 1 goggle eye in the water with each breath – try it, it is hard to do and not get a mouth full of water!
- Practice – LOTS. In my view this takes MUCH longer than I would have thought, but then again I don’t have a lot of patience! I have now done 83 consecutive days swimming plus prior to that I was swimming 4 times a week for 4 months and it has only been in the last month that my speed has started to improve.
- Toes pointed, legs together. This was a tip I was given from another swimmer, try to touch your big toes together as you kick, this made a huge difference to my speed when I first tried it.
- More strokes and less breathing. I lift my head out of the water quite a long way when I breathe which slows me down, so taking more strokes between breaths increases my speed. I now do 5 strokes before a breath.
- Make sure your goggles fit – might seem a no brainer, but I have spent many precious seconds taking goggles off and on!
- From Kieran: Slow and steady..that’s my tip..master breathing and stroke first then target speed..
Anyone can sprint for short distances. But efficient form beats bursts any day.
Count strokes and try to reduce how many you take to cover a given distance as a measure of efficiency.
And smile.. And enjoy. Take the time to breathe deep and revel in the ocean.
BONUS one from John: Get a shark to be your swim buddy. It will certainly make you go faster!!!! – hmmm not sure how useful this one is!