How To Swim Fast
Swimming is a full-body activity and knowing how to swim fast effectively requires getting all the parts to move together in perfect unison. Once you hit the water, focusing on your feet, torso and hands is important to ensure you get an efficient stroke. Getting in good shape and practicing often are also important parts to achieving torpedo-like results.
- Just for kicks. Your thighs are some of the strongest and most powerful muscles you have, and using them along with the rest of your legs properly will help you learn how to swim fast. Keeping your legs close together during a kick is important, as the more you separate your legs, the more drag you create. Keep your feet pointed straight out and flexed forward. Doing this allows them to get maximum contact with the surface of the water and saves energy drain on your calves, which allows blood that would have gone to your calves to travel to other parts of your body, delivering oxygen.
- Keep your head positioned well. Depending on the stroke you are doing, your head should either be just above the surface of the water, or it should stay below the surface—coming up to breathe, of course—allowing water to flow over it, reducing drag and breaking in the surface of the water. For long-axis strokes, like the freestyle and backstroke, where you are making big, swooping motions with your hands, keep your head slightly up. This will lower your hips and make your kicks more effective. Short-axis strokes, like butterfly and breaststroke, require the head to be submerged. Keeping this in mind will help you to know how to swim fast.
- Lengthen your stroke. The key to knowing how to swim fast is not really how fast your strokes are, but how much water you move with each one. Keep your body long and streamlined, pausing slightly before taking each stroke, allowing the water to flow past your body. When you do stroke, make a long powerful reach, using your hands to move as much water as possible and knifing it out of the water at the end of your stroke.
- Breathe. A fresh supply of oxygen is obviously important when trying to perform at a high level, and it should be apparent that you consider this when thinking about how to swim fast. Taking slow and steady breaths will help you keep your body fueled, and turning your head properly and at the proper times will maximize your body’s movements. Slowly exhaling while your face is in the water and then gulping a big mouthful of air with a quick turn of the head will keep you moving right along.
- Practice. It may be a cliché but to know how to swim fast you have to practice. Even the Michael Phelps’s of the world—in addition to being blessed with physical gifts—spend a great deal of time in the pool, honing technique and increasing their stamina. You should swim lap after lap after lap, focusing on the minute details and getting the most out of your body.