Most of us are taught that to become a better swimmer we must train harder and train for longer. This was true 20 years ago when not a great deal was understood about how we move in the water. The reality is swimmers of all abilities (especially beginners) need to focus on the correct technique more than anything else. Thrashing out lap after lap doesn’t make a person faster. The key is in reducing the amount of drag. This is where huge leaps of improvement are found.
Here is a list of five tips to help you swim like an Olympian:
1. Don’t train to get fit, train to achieve perfect technique: Everyone must start out by first getting technique right, and then progressing on to improving fitness. If you’re focus isn’t on swimming with correct technique from the beginning, any training you do will not help you for the long-term.
2. Find a coach or mentor: An unwritten law of swimming is ‘whatever it feels like you’re doing in the water, you’re probably doing the exact opposite’. The quickest way to get better at swimming is to have a qualified person give you feedback on your technique. Coaches can be found locally or found online. Many online coaches can give you feedback on your technique if you email a video of yourself to them.
3. Educate yourself: Just like a doctor studies medicine to become a good doctor, to become good at swimming you must study it also. It is much cheaper than a college education though! To achieve correct technique you need to watch the DVD’s, read the books and buy the programs which teach it.
4. Find a training partner: Training with a partner or a group of people makes swimming a lot more enjoyable. It also increase how hard you train and how far you swim because time will go by much quicker. It has been proven that running with another person increases your pace by 18% compared to when you run alone. I’m sure it is no different when in the pool. Find someone who is faster and fitter than you, as this will help you rise to their level rather than take the easy road.
5. Never quit: Becoming a good swimmer doesn’t happen overnight. It can take a few weeks to really change your technique, and many months to see a noticeable improvement in your fitness. The key is to be consistent and train regularly. If you train for 3 days in a row and then take a week off, you can’t expect to see results. You must be consistent with it and always focus on practicing the right technique.