Triathlon Taren is the first person in triathlon who explains in plain English how to swim faster freestyle. In this video Taren reviews three common mistakes beginner swimmers & triathletes make.
If you’re either a beginner triathlete, or you’ve been swimming for a while and you’re just looking to get a little bit faster, stick around and I’ll tell you the three most common mistakes that new swimmers make.
#1 - Crossing Over
Ok, the first most common mistake, and even experienced swimmers are guilty of this: is crossing over with their hand.
What you want in a swim stroke is to have your stroke outside the centerline of your body.
A lot of people will tend to overreach, and they’ll come over the middle and they’ll cross that centerline.
What happens when you do that, is it’s hard for you to end up making a nice catch because your shoulder just doesn’t want to move that way.
So, you want your arm a fair bit out to the side.
There’s a couple of ways that you can fix this.
The first way is really just to think in your head as you’re swimming, you want your left hand to be reaching out to say the ten o’clock position, and your right hand reaching out to the two.
A second way to fix this, is to get Finis paddles.
These are freestyler paddles, I’ll link in the description below to where you can get these if you want to check them out.
The nice thing about these paddles is that they don’t take a lot of strength so they’re not very tough on your shoulder.
And what they do, is they use this keel under the bottom of the paddle to align your swim stroke, and if you’re going off center the paddle will move.
And what it allows your hand to do is just move down and the paddle scoops around your hand.
So, it encourages you just to enter on a nice, straight line in that ten and two position eliminating that crossover.
#2 Lifting Your Head to Breath
The second most common mistake out there is lifting your head out of the water, and that’s natural because we want to breath and the airs up there.
So, people tend to lift their head out of the water and what that does is if they’re lifting their, imagine this if your head and these are your feet, and you lift your head: your feet sink causing drag, and then you sink even more.
And what you want is a nice smooth streamline all the way across being level in the water.
One way that you can fix this is to think as you’re doing your stroke, that when you’re moving the one goggle that sits lower in the water actually stays in the water.
So, as you’re swimming, one goggle stays in the water, and one is out.
And if you always think that the water line is going to be here, you’re going to lift your head nearly as much because the water is going to move around your head and create a little pocket of air that you can breathe from on the side.
If you really want to step it up and get a little bit sophisticated about how you fix about how you fix that head lift, is to use a snorkel.
And a snorkel is a very good training tool for learning how to keep your head steady in the water.
I’m going to warn you, it’s not nearly as easy as it sounds, but you can still breath and all you need to focus on is a steady head and just moving your arms in that nice side-to-side motion.
It can’t just be any snorkel, it does have to be formed a certain way so I’ll link in the description below to where you can find a proper freestyle swimmers’ snorkel.
#3 Swimming Too Hard - Pacing Yourself
And the third most common thing, and I was very guilty of this when I first started, is going too hard when you’re learning how to swim.
It’s not like running, cycling, doing weights, where the harder you go, the faster you’re going to get at the start.
At the start of learning how to swim you really just need to be learning technique, and if you’re thrashing around and struggling just to make it to the end of the pool you’re going to have a tough time working on that stroke, and every learning how to balance properly in the water.
There aren’t really any tools to figure this one out, you just have to get in your mind that if you go slower you’re probably going to end up going faster.
Particularly in a triathlon because if you go hard in a triathlon you’re going to burn yourself out in the swim, and you still have to do a bike and a run after.
It makes a lot more sense just to slow down, and be fresh for the rest of the race.
And the same goes for when you’re in the pool.
And as you get comfortable in the water you can add in some fast 25s, fast 50's, fast 100s maybe.
But you’re not going to do a fast 1500-meter swim because there’s no reason for it.
So those are my three top tips for new swimmers that want to get a little bit faster.