View Full Version : how to be a faster swimmer?

May 5th, 2004, 09:37 PM
I want to shave a significant amount of time off of my 30 minute mile. any adive or workouts?? thank you.

old dog
May 5th, 2004, 10:09 PM
Hi Newbie! ;0)

The search fuction on this site works well...note there have
been almost 20,000 posts here!

Happy swimming!

Rob Copeland
May 6th, 2004, 11:44 AM
My advice is to get with a masters program and work with the coach. There are a number of great Masters Clubs in the Bay area. Look at the USMS.ORG club links and try them out to find one that best meets your goals.

May 21st, 2004, 11:12 PM
hey guys im new to this place and i was wondering do any of you have any certain training that you do in the off season... im trying to get in shape for swimming next year. i really want to get in shape and be ready for swim season i plan on running 1-4 miles a day or swim for 2 hours a day over summer do you suggest something else or what

July 14th, 2004, 12:36 PM
abennett -- I know this is an old thread but I though I would add my 2 cents anyway.

I participated in a study at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs many years ago. (1993, I believe.) They were measuring muscle glycogen depletion, among other things. It was a rush! A lot of the physical testing was done in their flume. They took small muscle biopsies along the way, so they were using masters swimmers instead of their own elite swimmers. I would do it again (and again) if they ever did something like that again!

Anyway, one of the points of the study was to demonstrate the difference in speed, strength and endurance gain by incorporating more intervals into a person's workouts. They selected mostly aerobic swimmers -- those of us who did looooong plodding workouts at a relatively good clip. (For instance, 40-45 seconds per 50 yards, 500-1000 yards at a time.) We did a series of tests, and then were given new workouts to go off and do for 2 months. The new workouts retained our respective old yardage, but we were given more intervals of varying lengths, paces and techniques.

As you can probably guess, we all showed marked performance improvement from doing more intervals.

What SPECIFICALLY should you be doing? It's hard to say without knowing you, your capabilities and your current workout. And I don't want to pretend that I can tell you even if you came back and started giving me specifics about you and your workouts. Let me just suggest that you consider adding sets of various paces and short lengths to your current workout. If you do all 500s, try doing 1000 yards of 100s at quicker and quicker pace as you develop into it.

Besides improving your swimming speed, have you looked into improving your technique? If you do a basic open turn, for instance, then by developing a competent flip turn you can improve a half second on each turn (maybe a whole second depending on how lumbering your current turn is and how well you develop the flip.) A half second per turn over a mile distance (assuming in a pool and not open water!) is 30 seconds right there. And if you are a 30-minute miler, I'll bet there is room for improvement in your stroke technique that will merit you improvement on two fronts: 1) It will increase your speed. 2) It will eliminate energy wasted on poor technique that can be very valuable in maintaining your pace over that last 200 yards.

July 23rd, 2004, 03:46 PM
I absolutely agree to the idea of incorporating interval training as a way to improve your conditioning for a mile swim or much longer!

Of course I also agree (not knowing your skill level) that it's always a good idea to do various drills to make your stoke more efficient, i.e. improve your technique! The importance of good technique only gets magnified when doing longer swims as a lot of swimmers stroke starts falling apart as the distance of the swim gets longer and the swimmers gets more tired.

So two points here:
1. Incorporate interval training to keep your intensity high with limited rest. For example: to train for your mile swim don't just swim a mile but rather swim 16X100's at a goal pace with limited rest (no more than 5-10 sec.) OR 8 x 200's or 4X 400's. The longer the interval the longer the rest period should be. For example a good fomula might be 5 seconds rest per 100. So if you are doing 400's, take 20 seconds rest between each.

2. Stay extremely focused on your technique during your training. During a distance swim if you feel your technique is slipping, your probably getting tired. Back off a little and concentrate on getting that technique back on board....chances are you will maintain your pace!

Gail Roper
July 23rd, 2004, 08:05 PM
Swimming 16x100 with a short rest 5-10 seconds is the same as doing a 1600 straight. The important part of this is to get your time for each hundred. I know so many masters who think "making the interval" is more important that the time they are holding. They pay more attention to when they leave then when you they come in, they have no idea what time they are holding. You need to set an interval that permits you to swim 16x100 at a faster pace than you can hold for the 1650. If you can do 8x100 on the 1:30 and hold 1:20, you might try doing them on the 1:40 and hold 1:15. This way you are training to swim faster.

July 23rd, 2004, 09:51 PM
Listen to Gail Roper, she is giving excellent advice. That's why she is the great swimmer she is!!!:)