Although many of us know how to swim, few of us truly master on how to speed up on swimming. Practiced swimmers seem magically better than the rest of us at gliding through the water; Athletes seem almost to defy physics. Their technique is nearly flawless as well. Unfortunately, hidden in all of that water and motion, it’s difficult to see what great swimmers are doing differently from the rest of us.
Weaknesses in swimming skills transform what should be a fun recreational activity and challenging sport into a grueling chore. Many people, for example, hunch their shoulders while doing the breaststroke, restricting their capacity to breathe. The resulting shallower respiration causes them to tire much more quickly than they should.
Poor swimming habits can also lead to injuries, pain and muscle strains. People who hold their heads too high while doing the front crawl (freestyle) tend to strain their back and neck muscles; swimmers who lack sufficient hip rotation while backstroking experience decreased shoulder mobility, resulting in neck and upper-back pain. Inexpert swimmers often crane their neck during the breaststroke when trying to breathe, creating a whipping motion that can generate injuries akin to whiplash.
With the right technique and a good exercise regimen, however, you can shave valuable seconds off your time. Even the dreaded butterfly, which many regard to be trickiest and most wearying stroke, can be tamed with the proper technique.
If you have kids or nephews or even yourself who wants to learn to swim this summer you can check out our deal with Coach Chito Rivera