I would like to learn how to swim faster. What are techniques for faster swimming?
Good swimming is about efficiency through the water, and fast swimming is about good efficiency. The more efficiently your body moves through the water, the faster you swim without trying to swim fast.
We are, of course, talking about swimming at a basic level because if your basic swimming technique is incorrect, then your attempts to swim fast will result in a lot of effort for probably a slower swim.
What exactly do we mean by efficiency? If something is efficient, then it can work or move with the minimum of energy used.
As we swim, our bodies must be streamlined. In other words, we must make our body as long, thin and pointed as possible so that we ‘cut’ through the water with the minimum resistance. Our actual body shape and size have no real relevance here.
If we take the simple ‘push and glide’ exercise of pushing away from the poolside and gliding across the water's surface, we will find that keeping your hands and feet together will result in a longer distance glide than if your hands are apart. This is because your body position is more streamlined and, therefore, more efficient.
The task now is to transpose this streamlined position into your swimming strokes. For example, a long stretched-out glide during the breaststroke or a long stretched-out body position during the front crawl will result in a long-distance swim with less effort.
Quite often, swimmers make the mistake of trying to swim fast by kicking harder and faster or pulling with the arms harder and faster, resulting in sudden tiredness for very little distance gained. This is because the efforts put into kicking and pulling faster are at the expense of technique and efficiency.
Sure it is possible to kick faster and pull harder to gain swimming speed but only if a streamlined and efficient body position remains constant throughout.
My best-selling book The Complete Beginners Guide To Swimming contains all aspects of learning to swim, including gliding, breathing and relaxing, plus over 80 separate swimming exercises to help all parts of basic swimming. You can download it, print out the parts you need and take them to your pool to try out. Click the link below for more information.