Many of us spent hours in our younger years swimming laps of a pool either during swim school or as a part of a club. You might have fond memories of this or simply be looking for another way to stay fit and active. Either way, here are some great tips to help get you started as an adult recreational swimmer.
Break it down
If you’re new to swimming or recently returning, chances are your technique isn’t going to be perfect. Rather than diving into the deep end and attempting lap after lap of freestyle, why not pull it apart and practice different parts of it? A good place to start is kicking.
Practice gliding through the water, face down, for as long as is comfortable kicking to propel yourself forward. Focus on using the glutes and kicking with the whole leg rather than kicking from the knee.
Don’t forget to breathe
One of the most nerve wracking thing when getting used to swimming is learning when to breathe. Focusing on exhaling through the mouth into the water when face down really helps regulate breathing and prepares you to take a breath when it’s time.
Use pool aids
Pool aids like kickboards, fins (flippers), pull-buoys and hand-paddles can be really useful for improving specific techniques and strengthening parts of the body.
For example, fins can be used to help propel you through the water when perfecting the upper body freestyle technique or pull buoys can be used to assist with float so you can work on other aspects of your swimming and get that sensation right of gliding over the water.
Create your drill
“Drill” might sound like an intimidating term but it really just means a breakdown of what you’re going to do while you’re in the pool. While elite swimmers might swim, long, fast repetitions you might concentrate on swimming one lap at a time at first.
A good starting point is swimming 50 metres freestyle followed by 50 metres breaststroke and repeat. Once this feels comfortable try 100 metres freestyle with 50 metres breaststroke to recover. Eventually you could be swimming a 500 metre set of freestyle without stopping and thinking nothing of it.
Find your swim friends
Whether you’re in it for fun or would like to pursue swimming more seriously, finding a group of likeminded people is a great way to stay motivated.
This might simply be existing friends who are also interested in trying swimming or you might like to take it a step further and find a swim club that you can swim with once a week. An added benefit of this is swim tips, and feedback on your technique, which can be so valuable when getting back in the pool.
Have some more tips for returning to swimming? Get in touch through Facebook or Instagram using @SwimmingAustralia. We’d love to hear from you!