Becoming a better swimmer is a process. It takes time and it usually doesn’t happen over night. However, there are definitely a few ways to speed up the process.
We regularly get the question, “What and how long will it take… for me to learn how to swim (or improve my current swimming ability)?”
To help answer this question, we thought it would be fun to highlight one particular athlete whom we have been working with most recently. We’ll discuss the stroke improvements made, speed gains earned and the time it took to accomplish this.
Meet Diane! She’s a mom, wife, licensed massage therapist, triathlete and a super cool person with a great attitude. She’s also a member of our triathlon club!
Diane did her first triathlon 2 years ago. She had become a proficient swimmer over time, but she had trouble getting faster. This is why she reached out to us.
We had our first 1 on 1 swim session with Diane a couple months ago. She left energized and determined to practice what we worked on. We provided her with notes from our session and specific things to work on.
Last week we had a follow up session with her. Between the time we first met with her until the follow up session, Diane diligently practiced and focused on the key take-a-ways from our session.
Diane was able to shave :25 sec OFF per 100. That’s :25 LESS PER 100 yards!
What’s even more impressive is these new speed gains were not just for a single 100 yard time trial. Nope! The gains were measured over nearly 2,000 yards of swimming.
In the week following our first swim lesson, you can see from the Garmin Connect picture above Diane went from a sustainable 2:23/100 pace to a 2:02/100 pace. Then, about 1 month following our first session she broke the 2:00/100 mark and is now clocking 1:58/100.
After Diane’s first swim lesson we saw her 2 months later for a follow up session. In this session we ensured she was doing everything we initially discussed (correctly) and continued to work and make further improvements. We’ll see Diane again soon.
Improvements & Adjustments Made:
–> Stroke Timing / Rhythm
- Avoid dropping and pulling with your lead arm too soon
- Don’t pull until your recovery arm is about to the enter the water
–> Hand / Arm Entry
- Hand should enter the water closer to your head (avoid reaching so far out ABOVE the water)
- Drive your hand down on an angle and into the water
- Good catch, pushing as much water BEHIND you and NOT down
- Avoid your hand scooping up (“stop sign”) before catch/pull
The above is one of the common swim flaws we see among triathletes.
–> Engaging her kick more
- Kick drills (w/ board and w/o board)
- Ramp up kick fitness w/ various sets