Swimming is a challenging sport that requires the coordination of many muscles. It also has a high learning curve and many people become discouraged because of their lack of progress.
However, if you follow the right steps in the correct order, you can improve your swimming. Many triathletes struggle with their freestyle, but with a few easy tips and a lot of consistency you can turn your swimming around.
The First Step is Getting Into the Water
For many adults, this is the biggest hurdle in becoming a swimmer. You can practice your strokes and kicking in the comfort of your own pool, or you can find a local swim club and sign up for lessons. Regardless of which route you take, it is important to be consistent and make the time for your lessons. This will massively accelerate the process as you learn skills that compound on each other.
Start in the Shallow End
For beginners, getting used to being in the water is essential. It is recommended that you start in a shallow area of a pool and gradually work your way up to hip or waist height. This will ensure you are comfortable with the level of pressure on your body and allow you to build up your confidence in the water.
During your lesson, your instructor will teach you how to properly enter and exit the water as well as how to streamline your body. You will also master basic movements such as floating on your back and kicking on both your front and back.
Many of these fundamentals are often forgotten by new swimmers, and this can lead to common mistakes. For example, if you are not careful when surfacing, you may kick the bottom of the pool with your feet instead of pushing off the floor with your legs. This can cause a lot of drag and slow you down, so make sure you lift your feet out of the water before pushing off again.
You should also be careful when turning your head to breathe. Many swimmers tend to swing their heads too early or far, which causes them to lose their balance and roll backward in the water. This can cause a number of boo-boos in your freestyle, so be sure to keep your head squarely above the surface when you are breathing.
In addition to this, you should be careful about how you move your arms in the water. When you pull your hand down into the water, it should be slightly spread out rather than flexed. This allows for more surface area, which translates into greater power. In fact, researchers in the Netherlands found that when you swim with your fingers spread out, it takes less effort to “cup” the water than if your hands were flexed. This will help you reach your arm across the water more quickly and efficiently. You will also notice that your freestyle speed increases when you make this minor tweak.