Swimming is hard. For non-swimmers swimming is harder than most realise and not easy to take up as a regular sport. All those good swimmers you see have excellent cardio-respiratory fitness and often years of technique training. So don't be discouraged. And... The first step in improving is finding out what you are doing right now, so simple stroke analysis is very valuable. Consistency is the single most important fitness action. Like every sport. Don't give up. Keep swimming, keep working on fitness and technique. A good target of absolute minimum swimming for very new swimmers is three times a week. Keep swimming. Keep swimming.
Keep records. Whether a simple notebook or spreadsheet, make notes of where you started: Weight, morning resting heart rate, how far or fast you can swim (but try to forget speed). Without knowing your start point you will not be able to realistically gauge your improvements. Learn to breathe. This is the single most repeated problem on /r/Swimmit or to any swimmer or swim coach. This is improved with technique. The key is exhaling underwater. It is not easy and takes time but the time you spend on it at the start when you feel you should be swimming will repay itself a thousand-fold (at least) later on.
Understand lane etiquette. Swimmers of all speeds and abilities can happily co-exist in a pool, if everyone knows and adheres to the same lane etiquette. Otherwise chaos and lane rage will ruin everyone's swim. Vary the Intensity. New swimmers are prone to swimming up and down without varying the intensity. You need to swimming a mix of aerobic, anaerobic and threshold levels (slow and easy, medium, and overload/sprint).
Swimming is poor for weight management for beginners. While there are of course success stories, beginners think being out of breathe is the same as swimming hard. Swimming, unlike most other sports, is also an appetite stimulant. For swimming to be an effective weight weight management system it needs to be consistent and efficient, with control applied to your diet.
Use the pace clock. That funny looking swimming clock with one hand is most useful for beginners to keep check on their rest times. Less resting on the wall and more swimming. Try to keep all your rest times below 30 seconds. Ask other swimmers for help. We are glad to assist, we've all been where you are and we know swimming requires more than one person. Just try to ask in between sets, not during but since it's hard to tell sometimes, if they tell you they'll be able to help in 5, 10 or 15 minutes, they mean it.
Going to the sauna isn't swimming. Neither is hanging off the wall. Have realistic expectations. Losing lots of weight and dropping 20 seconds per 100m aren't realistic. Zero to hero in four weeks isn't realistic. Getting fitter and being able to swim further over a few months as a basis for further improvements ARE realistic. Enjoy your improvements. If you are not enjoying it, you will not stay at it. It's okay that's it's hard, but if you are realistic and consistent, you will enjoy it.
Cite this Essay
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below