10 Pro Swimming Tips for Swimmers and Triathletes

pro swimming tips zen8 swim trainer

Step up your freestyle swimming to the next level. These swimming tips were compiled with Great Britain Pro Triathlete Kieran Lindars.

 

Even slight improvements in your technique can shed seconds off your time. Whether you are swimming laps in the pool for fitness or racing in a triathlon, these tips will help you gain an advantage over your opponents - or against yourself.

 

Stretching

As obvious as it seems, a lot of swimmers neglect stretching before and after swimming sessions. Mobility in swimming is critical to efficiency and preventing injuries. It is recommended that before sessions you use dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretches are a light movement-based stretch that gradually gets the body ready for exercise. The more common static stretching technique is recommended to be used after sessions. Despite this be a superior stretching technique, some studies have shown that static stretches can negatively effect performance when used before sessions. This is because holding a stretch can affect the muscle elasticity reducing our ability to perform explosive and powerful actions such as sprinting.

 

Streamlining

Keeping your body in a streamlined, hydrodynamic position, parallel to the floor will help propel your body through the water in a more stream lined and efficient manner. Try keep your forward arm as straight as possible, with your head facing downwards to create a slipstream.

 

High Elbow

Keeping a high elbow with every swimming stroke will help you catch the
water. This is because a high elbow allows the forearm to drop in a vertical position whilst maintaining a streamlined position. The swimmer can use the additional surface area of the forearm to displace more water per swim stroke. If the swimmer can move more water, it allows for greater propulsion and faster swimming speeds.

Swimming tips how to high elbow

 

Less Splashing

A good sign of how efficiently you are swimming is how little splashing you make. Splashing is a sign of inefficient swimming, whilst creating turbulence in the water. Try to make sure each time you enter your hand back into the water after a stroke that you keep it as streamlined as possible. Don’t smash your hand into the water, instead try to break the water with your finger tips before bringing your hand in into the water.

 

Swim Kicks

Start each kick from your hips, not from your lower legs. This will give you more power with each kick in the water. It’s also important not to bend your knees too much, as this will disturb your streamline and can result in you sinking with each kick. For longer distance swims, such as triathlons, don’t try to put all your effort into your kicks as this will only tire you out. Try to be as efficient with your swimming strokes as possible instead.

 

Breathing

Breathing is one of the most difficult and important parts of swimming. For short sprints, the fewer breaths the better as each breath can slow you down. However, for long distance swimming, breathing more often is recommended. The goal for most swimmers is to use a breathing pattern that best replicates a normal land based breathing rhythm. Bilateral breathing is a great way to decrease muscle fatigue on a single side of the body. This refers to breathing on every odd breath, for example, after every three strokes.

 

Buddy-Up

Swimming with a friend can make swimming much more fun and competitive, especially when you are training and turning in lap after lap at the pool. Not only will it help to push you further and harder, but it will make swimming all that more fun.

 

Nutrition

Try to take in some protein and carbs within 30 minutes of each swim. Swimming is extremely depleting on your bodies resources. It doesn’t have to be a full meal, just something small and light such as a protein shake or an energy bar. Taking in liquids is also extremely important. Whilst  you are in the water you might not feel how much you are sweating and how much liquids you are losing. Try keep a bottle of water at the end of the swimming lane.

 

Rest

There is a common term called amongst swimmers and triathletes called, 'overtraining'. But, we prefer, 'under resting'.

Rest, as an athlete, is more important than training as it is where we recover and become stronger. Our body is very clever and it does not like to be damaged.

During training, the stress can lead to damage to the body; including micro tears. This is the post-training pain you may feel. Since the body doesn’t like to be damaged, it not only repairs the damage, but it also makes the muscles stronger. This is in order for your body to be more protected ahead of the next training session. Overcompensation is, in fact, what allows us to get faster and stronger.

However, the rebuilding process takes time and not allowing for sufficient recovery will cause too much damage leading to an injury.

If in doubt have some rest.

 

Practising all strokes

Each swimming stroke requires a unique skill and a different technique. Mastering these skills is incredibly important for becoming a well-rounded swimmer both technically and physically. A strong fly pull, for example, will help you to achieve a strong free pull. Being physically rounded will also help smooth out any muscle imbalances and will make you more robust to niggles and injuries.

 

Bonus tip - for triathletes

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