Whether you are entirely new to swimming or a veteran swimmer, every swimmer wants to improve their craft. And there is a lot that goes into becoming faster in the water, from your nutrition to your workout structure and your mindset.
These factors can either push you to improve or stagnate when put together and stacked on each other. So let’s look at some of the pro tips that can help you improve your technique and become as fast as a lightning bolt in the pool! How to Swim Faster in the Pool?
1. Set Your Personal Speed-Related Goals
Learning how to swim faster is not going to work the same for everyone, and the journey will be different from swimmer to swimmer. It is not a linear path, and it is not a one-size-fits-all thing. If you are a beginner, your idea of speed is swimming 100m in two minutes.
If you are a very skilled professional swimmer, you should aim for a bit of a harder goal, such as swimming 1000m in under fifteen or so minutes. Before you even start your journey of learning how to swim faster and improving your swimming technique, set your goal, whatever it is. Don’t be bothered or even influenced by other people’s goals and ambitions.
Just set a goal you want to achieve and always keep it in mind. Having a goal will help you track your progress, as the progress will be measured by how much closer you are to that goal. And you will also get to celebrate all of the milestones you manage to crush along the way! And the best thing is that once the goal is achieved, you get to set a new one! That is how you always get better and better.
2. Follow a Swim Training Plan
Once you have set your swimming goals, make a plan about how you are going to achieve them. If speed is your goal, there is no point in mindlessly swimming around the pool and not tracking your progress. It can be hard to tell if your training is enough, too much, or if you are not hitting your norm. Following a well-constructed and well-thought-out swimming training plan is essentially a cheat code for becoming a faster and stronger swimmer.
A swim training plan should be there as guidance that provides structured, intentional swimming practices tailored to your goals and your current skill level. A swim plan will give you confidence that there is absolutely no guesswork in your journey, and there is no place for wasting time or even regressing.
3. Remember: Quality over Quantity
You will not get faster by exhausting yourself by swimming endlessly. However, you will get faster if you swim better. Look at it like this: your swimming speed is determined by approximately 20% fitness and 80% technique. And while you should still put some focus on your fitness, of course, the majority of your focus and your effort should be aimed toward your technique.
Improving your technique can be difficult if you are a beginner and you train alone since you cannot know what you are doing wrong and what you are doing right. There is only so much you can do before you become biased and subjective about your progress, which can make you plateau or even regress in your swimming skill.
That is where a swimming coach can be beneficial. Just a few lessons will do wonders and point you in the right direction, and you can take them every few months to track your progress and see if you are on the right track and progressing how you should be. If that is not an option, you can also take videos of yourself swimming, review them, or ask for opinions from more experienced swimmers.
4. Always Prioritize Frequency Over Volume
As I have stated in the previous point, you should not be over-exhausting yourself in the pool. Going more often but having high-quality swims is much better and much more productive than going less often and spending hours and hours in the pool, past the point where you are exhausted and cannot follow proper form and technique.
Remember, you are not a robot, and you can only do so much before your body is completely exhausted and cannot keep the same form standard anymore. Feeling less fatigued during your shorter swimming sessions will help you maintain better form and improve your technique. And remember, 80% of speed comes down to a good technique!
5. Utilize drills whenever you can
Doing frequent swimming drills will make you swim faster – no doubt about that. Regular swimming drills will improve your feel in the water and your balance, which will improve your technique (not right away, improvement takes time). You will feel awkward whenever you introduce a new drill into your swimming routine – that is a normal and expected part.
Drills are supposed to challenge you and push your limits, and they are supposed to be very hard to complete. If your drill is easy, you need to step it up and make it harder. Some of the best and most productive swimming drills include single-arm freestyle, six-count drill, and fist drill, all of which are bound to have you absolutely sore (which is a good thing!).
6. Focus on the Proper Breathing Technique
If you are not following a proper breathing technique, you are just making things harder for yourself since you are creating additional resistance and extra fatigue that your body has to fight to get faster and reach your desired speed. Proper breathing will provide more oxygen to your body, making everything smoother and making you faster in the water.
However, this is often the most challenging part for many swimmers, which is why many use different breathing practices that help them create a useful breathing pattern. The breathing technique will vary depending on the stroke, but there are a few things you can generally do to improve your breathing technique and provide your body with more oxygen.
7. Practice Full Exhales
The body produces CO2 as a byproduct while it uses oxygen as fuel, and this CO2 needs to be released. If you inhale big and fill your lungs with oxygen, you need to do big exhales, too, to empty your lungs of CO2. Not exhaling that full buildup of CO2 makes you feel out of breath, making you feel tired and distressed during your swim, lowering your speed in the water. In order to stop this from happening, make sure you are exhaling fully while your face is in the water.
8. Bob Drills
Performing simple bobbing exercises will challenge your lungs and help build their capacity. Start by bobbing up to your hairline in the water. Slowly start to push yourself to try and progress deeper and for longer, blowing water out of your nose, which will let your body sink.
9. Respirator Training
A respiratory training device doesn’t even require you to put your face in the water and is an excellent exercise for training your breath and your lung’s power and strength. You can use a respiratory training device on your off days when you are away from the pool, but you still want to contribute to your swimming and speed progress.
10. Bilateral Breathing
It is essential to practice bilateral breathing if freestyle is your style of choice. Bilateral breathing means breathing only on odd strokes and alternating the side on which the breath is taken.
If being faster in the pool is your goal, you probably have some questions on your mind. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about how to get faster in the pool, all answered.
Q: Can a slow swimmer get faster?
Some slow swimming practices can definitely help you build your swimming technique and aerobic capacity, especially for longer distances. You cannot swim fast all the time, every practice! You need those slow days to put 110% of your effort into the days you are working on your speed.
Q: Does oxygen make you swim faster?
Oxygen allows us to be accurate in our performances for more extended periods because it makes us more concentrated and more present. In addition, high levels of oxygen allow us to be sharper in and out of the water.
Q: Does strength make you swim faster?
Swimmers need to train for strength in order to move fast through the water. That doesn’t mean training for bulk as bodybuilders do, but it does mean making your muscles stronger, which will translate into faster swimming. In addition, your increased muscle coordination will transfer throughout the movements of your swimming strokes.
Q: Does stretching make you swim faster?
Stretching can help improve the swimmer’s flexibility and range of motion in and out of the water. You can swim faster and more efficiently if you are more flexible and mobile.
Q: What muscles make you swim faster?
Your hands are the main actors in creating thrust in swimming. However, hands are not that muscular, and the power comes from entirely different body parts. When it comes to swimming, big muscles such as the triceps, pecs, and lats provide most of your power.
I’m Ramona, a specialist in Crossfit and functional training. I am passionate about helping people reach their fitness goals, and I have been actively involved in the CrossFit community for over eight years. I’ve trained with some of the best coaches in the world, traveled to many different countries to learn from different experts, and completed numerous certification courses. Regardless of your fitness goals, I am committed to helping you achieve them through comprehensive, challenging, and effective workouts tailored to your lifestyle.