Advice for New Swimmers

If you're new to the sport of swimming, you might be wondering how you can swim better or faster. Perhaps you’ve even ventured into some of the forums here and on other sites, posing that very question. Not only are there lots of people asking what a beginner can do to improve their swimming, but there are ten times as many people willing to dispense advice on how to be a better swimmer.

To help you, we surveyed the advice that’s out there and boiled it down to a few sentences. Here, in no particular order, are the 10 most-common pieces of advice given to beginner swimmers.

  • Find an instructor: Get an instructor, a coach, or a friend who is knowledgeable (about swimming!) to watch you swim. Better yet, ask them to take some video, so you can see your strokes too.
  • Blow bubbles: Focus on exhaling when your face is in the water. Empty your lungs with each breath.
  • Slow down, and focus on how you are swimming: Learn some drills and do them every time you swim.
  • Swim frequently: Even if you only have time for a short swim, it’s best to get in the water at least three or four times a week, just to maintain your “feel” for the water.
  • Vary your training: If you do the same thing every day, you are probably getting good at whatever it is that you do. But you’re probably also a one-dimensional swimmer. Bring your swimming to life by adding new things to your workouts, such as different strokes, new drills, kick sets, and interval training.
  • Focus less on your arms and more on body position: Your hips should ride high in the water, and your spine should be aligned (forming a straight line from your head to your tailbone).
  • Maintain proper head position: Your head should not be submerged under the water or sticking mostly out of the water. Try to have a neutral head position, so that you are looking at the bottom of the pool and about six feet (2 meters) ahead of you.
  • Watch what the pros do: Check out some videos of Olympic swimmers, and try to emulate their strokes the next time you are in the water.
  • Wear a racing suit: Make sure your swimsuit does not restrict your movement or create lots of drag. While you don’t need a technical speed suit, you will find it easier to swim if you’re wearing a form-fitting racing suit.
  • Swim fast at practice: If you want to swim fast in a race, you've got to practice your quick speed. Interval training is the best way to improve your speed.

Have more advice for new swimmers? Add it below!

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