3 Ways to Increase the Distance You Can Swim


Swimming longer distance doesn’t necessarily come naturally to humans; after all, we’re land animals. However, it’s possible to train the body to swim further. Here are three tips to increase the distance you’re swimming in the pool…

1. Improve your stroke

Improving your stroke is an effective way to help you swim further in the pool. Long-distance swimmers use freestyle, as it’s the most energy efficient and quickest stroke; the good long-distance swimmers have perfected their freestyle to maximise efficiency, allowing them to swim further.

Ideally, you should use a ‘round arm’ freestyle stroke (which falls between a ‘straight arm’ and ‘bent arm’ stroke). To achieve this, visualise your arm hugging an exercise ball; your arm should then enter the water at a slight angle. As with all freestyle strokes, once underwater your arm will be straight – and then during the recovery phase, you create the same shape from the first step.

When it comes to your legs, they should be working at a similar rate and utilise a two-beat kick in rhythm with your arm strokes – i.e. you should be kicking once per stroke cycle. For example, as your right hand enters the water, your left arm will circle, completing the stroke; that’s when you should kick your left leg, alternating as you swim. Powering your kicks from your hips rather than your knees gives greater speed and uses less energy, while deep and relaxed breathing is also a critical component to a good long-distance stroke.

Aquastar Swim Schools offers lessons to suit all abilities, including those who are accomplished swimmers looking to improve their stroke. Our Squad program was designed in collaboration with gold medallist Kelly Stubbins, and is led by dedicated coaches – so if your child is interested in competitive swimming, be sure to get in touch.

2. Build up your swimming fitness slowly and steadily

To swim a greater distance, you of course need to build up your swimming fitness – and like anything else fitness-related, it always pays to do this slowly and steadily. Pushing too hard, too quickly can lead to injury and burnout; rest days are important. Aim to be consistent with the days you do swim.

Improving stamina doesn’t necessarily have to come from increasing the total distance you swim or the hours you spend in the pool each week (although this of course helps). By switching up your sets to swim longer distances but with lower repetitions, you can improve your ability to swim further. For example, instead of doing an 8×50m set, do a 4×100m, and then do a 2×200m, and work your way up to a 400m.

3. Cross-train out of the pool

The best athletes don’t become the best at what they do solely by practising their exact sport day in day out (although they of course do a lot of that). Top athletes all cross-train to gain fitness and reduce repetitive wear and tear. Formula 1 drivers all work on fitness away from their cars, AFL players cover plenty of kilometres running… and swimmers are no different. Working on your arms, back, core, and legs at the gym, and running to improve cardio fitness can all help a swimmer improve their endurance in the pool.

For more information regarding Aquastar Swim Schools’ Squad program, please click here.

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