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By: Jim Bahn

How To Swim Faster: 7 Tips

1. Get a Video Analysis

Of all the investments you can make when it comes to swimming, a video analysis will by far bring you the most bang for your buck.  Many pools or swim coaches offer a video analysis of your swim stroke for a small fee.  If you can’t find swim video analysis services in your area, have a friend film you! Simply tell your friend to film an out-of-water view of you swimming with a smartphone. If you have a waterproof case or camera, you can’t get even fancier by getting underwater videos of your swim stroke. After you get a video of yourself swimming, send it to a coach or compare yourself to elite swimmers on Youtube.

2. Focus On One Thing Every Swim Workout

Every time you’re swimming you should focus on one thing that needs imporvement. For example if your hips are sinking when you swim, focus on keeping your head down with every stroke. After you master the one thing you’ve been working on, switch to something else thats needs improvement. Believe me, you will never run out of things to work on with swimming.

3. Practice Drills Every Swim Workout

No matter what your swim workout is, always do at least a few drills to practice technique. Even just a few 25s of drills before your main set can make a big difference in molding your muscle memory to proper swimming technique. Besides open water swims, I have the athletes I coach do drills for every pool workout.

4. Learn Do To Flip Turns

Triathletes often think they can get by without doing flip-turns when swimming in a pool, you don’t do flip-turns in the open water right? While this may be true, in order to be a better swimmer you need to train like a swimmer and all good swimmers do flip-turns. Additionally flip-turns are a way of continuing swimming without coming to a complete stop.

5. Don’t Day Dream

One of the biggest problems with long swim intervals is the ability to focus on swimming. Swimming is the one thing that you should be focusing on. It’s natural for your mind to wander as you get into a good rhythm with swimming but DON’T LET IT. Avoid the urge to day dream and continually focus on technique as you swim. If you’re having trouble with this, pause at the pool edge and try to regain your focus by reminding yourself why you are there and what you should be working on.

6. Do Shorter Swims More Often

One of the best ways to swim faster is to swim more often. Notice how I say more often and not “more”, meaning instead of doing 3- 1 hour swim sessions a week, do 4- 45 min session a week, or better yet 5- 35min sessions a week. Getting in the water often quickly teaches you a “feel” for the water, pretty soon you will begin to see how to move with the water and not against.

7. Swim With Confidence 

One of the biggest obstacles that new swimmers face is overcoming a fear of the water. To overcome this I recommend athletes swim with confidence and approach swimming as if easy, even though it’s not. From the moment you step onto the pool deck, your head should be up and you should be ready for a swim practice. Enter the pool as if you have no fear, then jump into your warm-up! Even if you don’t believe your a good swimmer, fake it till you make it.

About Brad Haag

Brad is a certified USAT triathlon coach, a certified USAC cycling coach, and a certified NCSF personal trainer. Brad specializes in coaching endurance and warrior class athletes to peak performance. He can be found at HaagsAthletics.com.

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