Friday, April 9, 2010

Improving Your Swimming: One Lap at a Time

Swimming, like any other sport takes dedication, focus and practice. If you are ready to take your swimming to the next level, whether you are a beginner or experienced swimmer, think about revamping your training schedule just a bit to get the most out of the time you spend in the pool.

First of all, determine what your goals are and be prepared to dedicate some specific times for your training. Are you a beginner and want to learn just how to swim more efficiently and be comfortable in the water, or are you training for a specific event and want to improve your conditioning and speed? Look at your personal schedule and pool schedule and determine how much time you can spend in the water. For beginners that may mean 2 or 3 times a week, 30 to 60 minute a session. More advanced swimmers, 3 to 5 times a week, 60 minutes or more per session. For beginners, consider enlisting the help of a coach for a private or semi private swim lesson to get some instruction and training tips. More advanced swimmers consider challenging yourself at an organized workout A swim conditioning class can take your swimming to the next level, incorporate endurance and speed into your workouts and build some camaraderie with other swimmers.

Secondly make sure your practice time is focused. Have a plan when you get to the pool. Swimming back and forth is fine, but to make the most out of your workouts, mixing your practice time up with some drills, speed work and conditioning work will help improve your swimming abilities the most. Consider focusing on something different each practice; drills and technique one day, speed work another and conditioning and endurance on another. Or determine what your weaknesses are and be sure you focus on those for at least a portion of your workouts every time you are in the pool. This will help you see the greatest gains over time.

Finally, like any other sport repetition is key. You have to be willing to practice and put the time in to see positive results. Again enlisting the help of a swim coach to review your stroke, give you some specific instructions and assist you in developing a regular routing may be helpful. Or finding an organized swim conditioning class that meets on a regular basis can keep you on track and motivated. Arranging time to swim with a friend or buddy can also make you more accountable and make swim time that much more fun.

Swimming is great exercise, and although the learning curve is big, with lots of practice and help from a coach you can see quick results and will enjoy your time in the pool that much more.

Written by Laurie Leonetti
Swim Conditioning Coach & Swim Instructor, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown

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