15 Swimming Technique Tips

We all know that swimming is all technique, so we asked the team at Future Dreams swimming to share their top 15 Swimming Technique Tips to help improve your efficiency and times.

  • Reach as far as you can forwards so that your arm straightens fully plus pause for a fraction of a second with each stroke. This will allow you to glide more, cutting through the water more effectively and reduce drag
  • Keep your weight forward through your chest as constantly as you can to keep your hips up, even while lift your head to sight. This helps contributes to better forward speed
  • Let your opposite shoulder roll with every reach forward – it allow you to reach further (half the shoulder width is employed) and further reduces drag as water slides past you instead of being forced downward from your chest
  • Keep your legs high and your kick compact even if you are not putting much energy into your kicking. It will keep you moving forward faster than if you leg them cross each other &/or drop down
  • When lifting your head to sight, lift and drop your head seamlessly and quickly rather than within 2-3 strokes. By completely the sighting movement within one stroke, you will keep your momentum more intact and use less energy
  • Complete your pull all the way back to your hips before lifting the arm and recovering it back to the front. This gives you more complete power from the start to the finish of the stroke
  • Make your entry as clean as possible, no matter how fast you are swimming (ie no splash). A clean entry means there is even flow above and below your leading hand resulting in a more effective catch and therefore more power on the pull
  • Don’t just reach with your arm but extend more fully from your shoulder as well. Every good swimmer straightens their leading arm out first so the elbows locks, but they also extend even further by using their shoulder joint as well. You need flexibility for this, otherwise it will be something you struggle with for a while but by constantly trying this will help build both that required flexibility and improves the specific strength you are training
  • Keep your eyes looking down or slightly backwards (ie 2 tiles back) 80% of the time you are swimming to help keep your hips up. You will need to look forward sometimes to check where you are going or where others are in relation to you but to do it too often will slow you down
  • Try to bend your elbow forwards and upwards at the end of the Reach so that before or as you start the pull your surface that generates the pressure (your hand) is facing and therefore directing energy backwards not down. Backwards energy is much more likely to send your forwards then energy propelled downwards…)
  • Try keeping your legs high but also flati-sh even though your shoulders need to rotate by 60-70 degrees with each stroke. Think of effective rotation as a downward taper, ie more form your shoulders, less but still some on your hips and almost none at your feet end
  • Think of the Catch as a slightly outwards press before you pull. Even if only 1-2inches outwards you will find more back pressure on your hand before pulling if you can start mastering this
  • Don’t allow your pull to cross the centerline on the pool bottom when you pull backwards. There will be some movement inwards naturally but too much across the centerline will result in either lost pressure on your hand (slipping) or incorrect direction of that pressure
  • Vary the speed of your movement within each stroke – ensure there is at least a small pause at the end of the Reach, then start the catch relatively slowly to find the pressure before starting to accelerate the pull all the way back to your hips
  • Learn to decrease your stroke counts throughout the season over a longer and longer distance (at the same pace as normal though).  This will result in better strength through your delts and rhomboids on the reach (you have to work harder to hold the glide longer) but also better strength on your lats and tris during the pull.

Training tips provided by Future Dreams Swimming

  • Triathlon Swim Squads at Parnell and Tepid Baths
  • Private Tuition, Video Feedback
  • Program Writing
  • Underwater Analysis Workshop

Women-only Lessons
Contact: swim@futuredreams.co.nz | 021-2888715

elisabeth siebenmorgen says 5 September 2012

in the auckland harbor crossing swim, is it mandatory that one uses the crawl stroke the entire time, or can one use resting strokes from time to time

    Ned says 23 September 2012

    You can use any stroke you like. Look at video of Melissa Gorman in the Paihia Classic last year, switching occasionally to backstroke in the testing conditions.

    However, be aware that others around you may be using freestyle the entire way, and if you switch to a slower stroke then you may end up with someone swimming into or over you, which is not a pleasant experience for either party! Generally if you think you’re going to need to switch to a slower stroke make sure that you are either to the back or to the side of your group – and that you are in the right group to start with.

Maryann Murphy says 25 September 2012

I like this blog its a master peace ! .

Hampton Swim School says 21 November 2014

A great articule thanks for the details! Going to my first ocean swim soon and my swimming technique is shocking at the moment.

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