There are certain things that advanced swimmers do that take time to master but there are other things they do that anyone can do if only they know how. So this section provides those quick tips and tricks so that you can shorten your learning curve as much as possible.

Swimming Tips for Beginners and Experienced Swimmers

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When you take up swimming, you often feel awkward and wonder what advanced swimmers do to avoid such and such problem or how they obtain such and such effect. Then, as time passes by, you learn some swimming tips and tricks that improve your technique and you become a better swimmer.

There are certain things that advanced swimmers do that take time to master but there are other things they do that anyone can do if only they know how. So this section provides those quick tips and tricks so that you can shorten your learning curve as much as possible.

10 Tips to Improve your Technique

Freestyle Swimming

Having a good freestyle swimming technique is essential for an effective stroke. Being effective means either being relaxed while swimming at slow to moderate speed or swimming fast without being exhausted to quickly. The swimming tips in this article will help you become a more effective freestyle swimmer.

  1. 1. 

    Keep your head in line with your trunk and look straight down toward the bottom of the pool. Don’t look forward because otherwise you will have the tendency to lift your head, which will in turn cause your hips and legs to drop and you will have to kick harder to keep them up.

  2. 2. 

    Learn how to press your buoy, which has the benefit of keeping your hips and legs up without much effort. This freestyle swimming technique requires you to apply downward pressure on your head and chest. As your lungs are filled with air and very buoyant, pressing down your upper body causes the lower body to rise up through a lever effect. You then don’t need to kick that hard anymore.

  3. 3. 

    Don’t lift your head just before breathing. This common error also causes your hips and legs to drop. Rather roll on your side and let your head roll a little bit further until your mouth clears the water. It should feel like your head was resting sideways on a pillow made of water.

  4. 4. 

    Try to swim more on your sides rather than flat on your stomach and chest. Roll from side to side with each arm stroke. This allows you to engage the larger back muscles in addition to the shoulder muscles and improves your propulsion.

  5. 5. 

    To obtain an effective freestyle swimming technique you need to exhale continuously in the water while your face is submerged. There simply isn’t enough time to both inhale and exhale on the side during a breathing arm recovery. This also lets you relax more in the water.

  6. 6. 

    Learn how to swim with a so-called high elbow. This freestyle swimming technique consists in flexing your arm and keeping your elbow high in the water during the under water arm pull so that your forearm is facing backward rather than downward for as long as possible, which improves propulsion.

  7. 7. 

    While recovering your arm forward don’t extend it completely above water before letting it drop in the water because it increases drag and can also lead to swimmer’s shoulder over time. It is better to enter the water with your hand shortly after it has passed your head and then to extend the arm forward under water.

  8. 8. 

    Save energy by using a relaxed two-beat kick for middle and long distance swimming. This means that you kick at the same pace as you stroke with your arms.

  9. 9. 

    Make sure your palm is parallel to the water surface while it extends forward under water during the arm recovery. A common mistake freestyle swimmers make is to angle their palm upward at the end of the recovery. In that case they are in fact pushing water forward and slowing themselves down.

  10. 10. 

    In the beginning, a nose clip can be useful because it keeps water out of your nose and so this is one less thing to worry about and you can relax more. Once your technique and coordination has improved later on you will be able to get rid of the nose clip without too much effort. Personally I used a nose clip for a year while learning the freestyle stroke before getting rid of it.

A Beginner’s Guide to Swimming Equipment / Gear

Swimming Equipment

This article discusses the swimming equipment you need when you learn how to swim. There are a few essentials you should get and then there is some additional swimming gear that can really help you to improve faster. Find out more below!

There are certain things that advanced swimmers do that take time to master but there are other things they do that anyone can do if only they know how. So this section provides those quick tips and tricks so that you can shorten your learning curve as much as possible.

Swimsuit

Obviously you will need a swimsuit to learn how to swim. For men, these are usually swim briefs or swim trunks. Boardshorts aren’t very good for swimming as they create too much drag. Furthermore, they are forbidden in certain pools for hygienic reasons. For women, the most comfortable swimsuit is the one-piece swimsuit.

Swim cap

In most cases, a swim cap is required when swimming in a public pool. And a swim cap is also very useful if you have long hair and want to avoid that it gets into your face while swimming.

Swimming Goggles

If you are serious about learning how to swim, swimming goggles are also mandatory as they will allow you to put your head under water without getting water in the eyes. This will permit more relaxed and streamlined swimming.

The Nice-To-Have’s

Nose Clip

When you are learning front crawl or backstroke, it takes coordination to integrate breathing into the stroke, and it usually takes a while to learn how to do this. Using a nose clip keeps water out of the nose, so it’s one thing less to worry about during the initial learning stage.

Swim fins

Swim fins are a great tool to have while learning the crawl and butterfly strokes. They give you an efficient kick and allow you to focus on the arm motions in crawl and on the body undulation in butterfly. My preference goes to the short kind of swim fins, like Zoomers or the Speedo Biofuse, as they put less strain on the Achilles Tendon.

Other Swimming Equipment

The following swimming equipment is usually available at the local swimming pool, so you usually don’t need to buy it.

Pull Buoys

The pull buoy is a figure-eight shaped flotation device made of foam which you put between your legs. It gives the lower body enough buoyancy so that you don’t need to do leg work and is great to learn arm motions. Certain swimmers also use it to do front crawl lap swimming, but in my opinion this isn’t very useful as it masks balance problems.

Water noodles

Water noodles (also called swim noodles) are long colored flexible cylinders made of foam. They are great pool toys but also interesting to use as flotation devices that support the upper body while learning correct leg motions.

Kickboard

The kickboard is also used to isolate leg work and can be interesting in certain cases. However, it can strain the shoulders, especially it is held in front of you with extended arms, and that’s why I prefer to use a water noodle in most cases as an alternative.

Swim Paddles – When and How to Use Them

Swim Paddles

You’ve certainly seen swim paddles at the pool before, as many seasoned swimmers use them. And now that you’ve been swimming for a while you wonder if you should get them too.

You’ve figured out that they should allow to strengthen your shoulders and make you swim faster. But are they really such a good idea?

Swim Paddles and Shoulder Strengthening

As discussed above, hand paddles are often described as the swimmer’s equivalent of the weight lifter’s dumbbells. The idea is that using them regularly will make your shoulders stronger and allow you to swim faster. However, there are several problems with this thinking:

  • At the beginning of the pull, the arm and especially the shoulder are in an anatomical weak overhead position. Putting additional load on the shoulder in this position isn’t such a good idea.
  • Often, a swimmer’s stroke is far from perfect. Putting additional load on the shoulder in that case can increase strain and lead to swimmer’s shoulder.
  • There are far better exercises to strengthen the shoulders with dry land training than to use paddles. See for example the rotator cuff strengthening exercises and the scapular stabilization exercises.
  • Water resistance increases exponentially with speed. So there’s a limit on how much speed you can gain by increasing your strength. It is far more easier and effective to work on decreasing drag than to increase strength.
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