An article with some tips on how you can improve your swimming in order to get the most from your pool.
Your pool is a place to relax and have fun. It can be a focus for family entertainment; a place to workout or to play games but there probably isn’t anyone who has a pool who doesn’t enjoy simply swimming in it.
Like most things in life, the better you are at something, the more you enjoy it and the more you get out of it. Swimming is no different.
With that in mind, we’ve found 7 top tips to help make you a better swimmer.
Swimming is such an amazingly good exercise because the water provides a resistance that your muscles must work against while at the same time supporting your body and cushioning your joints.
Water is almost 400 times denser than air. Great for that muscle toning but the biggest thing you have to overcome if you want to swim quickly and smoothly.
In order to glide through the water you want to slip through the smallest hole in the water that you can.
Draw an imaginary line from the top of your head to the far end of the pool. As you swim, try to keep as straight to this line as possible by keeping your back and tummy taut and by reaching forward with your leading arm as far as you can.
Let your body rotate around the axis of this line and aim to be as smooth and as streamlined as possible.
You can make that water density work for you by imagining that you are grabbing hold of it.
Don’t just think that you are swimming with your hands, use your entire arm to grab a ‘piece’ of water and pull yourself along by it.
It’s almost as if you were shovelling sand on the beach or climbing a rope. You want to feel the water resistance along your entire arm, keep your hands broad and flat and haul yourself through the water to the end of each lap.
When you are swimming front crawl, each stroke begins as your leading arm enters the water and as it does your body rotates around it’s axis till that side of your body is pointing almost straight down towards the bottom of the pool.
That arm now has a grip of the water and is powering you along.
Your other arm is up and out of the pool and about to dive in to begin the next stroke.
The muscles in your hips and torso are stronger than your arms so the more you twist along your bodies axis using these muscles the more power you will be able to get into your stroke.
If you keep your head down and look almost at the bottom of the pool as you swim, it helps to keep your body straight and streamlined.
If you look up, your chest comes up and causes more drag and your bottom comes up as well.
Trying to swim with that S-shaped curve in your back can strain your neck and lower back and it simply won’t be efficient.
Keeping your head down means that you have to think about your breathing more.
You don’t want to keep coming up gasping for air so you should make each breath count. When you are blowing out under water, try and get all the air out of your lungs.
When you breathe in make it a quick but full breath.
When you start swimming, you’ll want to breathe on each stroke but as you improve and gain in confidence, you can aim to breath on every third stroke. That reduces the strain on your neck and keeps your body sleek and streamlined for longer so that you are swimming faster and more efficiently and smoothly.
It’s strange but true that the fewer strokes you make, the faster you go – if you are making the most of them.
Everyone can remember their first, frantic efforts at learning to swim when it felt that you had to keep constantly moving in order to stay afloat and move forward.
The secret is to let your body glide between each stroke so that you get the most momentum out of the effort that you have put in.
Stroke… then glide. Stroke again when you feel yourself start to slow down and not before.
The flatter and straighter you keep your body, the longer that glide will take you.
OK. That isn’t going to happen but if you think of your feet as flippers it will help them move in the same, powerful way.
Imagine a flipper going through the water and you can see it’s rhythmic, up and down motion. That’s what you want your feet to emulate, so keep your legs taught but let your ankles be loose so that your feet have that same flexibility.
These tips might seem like a lot of things to remember, but if you do want to improve your swimming then it’s a good idea to just concentrate on one aspect at a time.
You might want to practice your breathing or try and glide for longer between strokes.
The thing is, if you spend a session or two focussing on each of these individual areas then slowly all the things that you are teaching your body to do will come together and you will find that you are swimming more powerfully and more efficiently.
We hope that this article has been of use to you and has given you a few ideas about how you can be a better swimmer and get more from your pool.
If there is anything you would like to add to this article or if you would like to leave a comment then please just use the reply box below.