Swimming can be a fun pastime or refreshing recreation, but when it comes to competitions, you want to be at your best. Improving your endurance and speed in the water involves disciplined strength training, attention to your stroke technique and lots of practice in the pool. Following these instructions, you will be one stroke closer to swimming like the pros.
Wear the right equipment. The less you have on you, the faster you will swim, because your body will have a lower resistance to the water. Professional swimmers wear racing caps and sleek swim suits. Some competitors even shave their bodies for a better time. Purchase racing goggles as well to protect your eyes from chemicals in the water.
Focus on your technique. While a professional swimmer's technique varies depending on which stroke is being executed, there are some pointers you can use to improve the most common strokes. Practice making as little splash as possible to avoid extra resistance in the water. For example, when swimming the crawl stroke, let your pinkie enter the water before the rest of your hand for a smooth entrance. Keep your head straight and avoid looking around you. To conserve energy, make long, sure strokes rather than short choppy ones, which will only wear you out faster.
Breathe correctly. Many professional swimmers practice bilateral breathing, the method of taking breaths on alternating sides mid-stroke, breathing out in the water at an even and controlled pace. Bilateral breathing gets you the oxygen you need for the race without hindering your progress in the water.
Implement the flip turn in your daily practice. The flip turn is used in professional races to help the swimmer transition smoothly into the next lap without losing time. Instead of stopping when you reach one end of the pool, perform a flip turn, pushing off from the wall and use some of the momentum from your previous lap to propel you into the next.
Improve your speed through interval training. Speed train by sprinting for a few laps and then slowing down to a controlled and even pace in order to let your body rest and recover before your next sprint. This will help you swim like a pro instead of always racing at the the same mediocre pace.
Improve your power with a regular strength training program. On days when you are not at the pool, implement a strength-training regime of 20 to 30 minutes, two to three times a week. Focus on the muscles you need for power and speed in the pool, such as your upper arm and leg muscles, as well as your abdominal and core muscles.
Joelle Dedalus began writing professionally for websites such as PugetSoundMagazine.com in 2009. She received her B.A. in English education at Iowa State University and is currently a M.F.A. candidate in creative nonfiction writing at Emerson College in Boston, where she is developing a manuscript on literary travel. Her areas of expertise include travel and literature, the outdoors and the arts.