If there’s one goal competitive swimmers have in common, it’s to enhance performance and improve swim speed. Now, swimming faster is an extremely vague goal and means different things to different people. For one person it could mean swimming 800 metres under 12 minutes, for others, it might mean finally completing sets at practice which used to seem impossible to reach.
Whatever swimming fast means to you, there are a few key elements you need to consider to become a faster swimmer.
Improving Your Swim Speed
Swimming at the right pace is vital for any swimmer. It doesn’t just allow you to save energy but also to be more efficient throughout the entire swim. Swimming at a faster speed essentially means swimming a given distance in a shorter amount of time. So every aspect of the swim – from the starts and turns to stroke technique and endurance – all play a role in determining speed.
Reducing The Drag
Reducing the drag (the resistance that your body produces while swimming), means getting the right technique as this smoothes out your swimming by using your strength in a much more efficient way. To reduce the impact drag can have, there are a couple of things you can do, in or out of the water. Make sure you have a strong core, you have improved posture and a lengthened body and incorporate exercises that work on your balance. If you’re looking for ways to improve your core and balance, have a read of our blog on the Top Yoga Poses for Swimmers to help with posture and balance.
Starts and Transitions
Your starts and push-offs are the two points of your swim where your speed is at its peak. So if you are able to maximise the acceleration you generate on these points you’re on to a winner. Practice makes perfect and the key is to consistently put in the effort to properly execute each start, turn, underwater, and breakout in your practice sessions. Finish each set strong, even when you’re not training for a time.
Improving Your Swim Technique
Swimming at a faster speed isn’t all about moving your arms faster or kicking your legs harder. It’s more about improving your technique and learning to maintain good form as you pick up your pace. Poor form increases drag, decreases your swimming efficiency, and raises the chances of incurring an injury, which will prevent you from swimming faster. For all the information, check out our blog post for all the tips on Improving your Swimming Technique.
Increasing Your strength
It takes power to swim faster, and you may think that doing more swimming is the best way to improve, but there are a lot of exercises that you can do outside of the pool to enhance your body strength. Just having perfect technique doesn’t make a swimmer fast, you’ll need to develop strength so you can apply force to the water.
Spread Those Fingers!
This one can really help you if you’re not already doing it. Slightly spreading your fingers while pulling through the water can result in over 50% more force by creating an ‘invisible web’ between your fingers. That can be a life-changer for you if done properly!
It’s only human to flag in energy sometimes, and for most of us, the same workout on repeat can quickly become boring. The key to enjoying your swimming sessions and staying motivated is variety. So try these simple ways to stay fresh and look forward to training sessions.
- Goals – In order to stay motivated, try setting some goals. Set them for the season, for the week, for the practice, or the set. But having a goal is not enough if you don’t understand the purposes of each goal. Having a connection between both short-term and long-term goals will help you see the endpoint.
- Focus – No swimmer should ever swim without a focus. Strokes are hardly ever perfect. If you have the desire and the goals, focus on what it will take to fulfil those goals.
- Find Someone to Race – Working with a friend or a teammate will make practice go by easier, and racing them can improve your training. Set yourself goals to beat their speed and have fun while you do it! It sounds cliche, but a happy swimmer is a faster swimmer.
With these tips, you should start to see an improvement in your swimming speed – giving you greater results and greater enjoyment in the pool!
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