Once you get comfortable swimming in open water, you can start focusing on technique. By practising your swimming technique, you learn to move more efficiently through the water. Correcting your technique will also help to reduce your risk of injury in the long-term.
5 Tips To Improve Swimming Technique:
1. Practise bilateral breathing
Alternate breathing to the left and right. Not only does this allow you to view your surroundings better when in open water, it reduces your risk of overuse injury.
2. Lengthen your strokes
Think of lengthening your arm forward on the catch, and pushing all the way back as you pull. Stroke length is related to swimming speed, so increasing your stroke length will help get you through the water faster.
3. Focus on the pull
As your hand enters the water, focus on the pulling phase of the stroke. Keep your elbow high (above the hand), and think of pulling the body of water down toward your legs. A high elbow helps to maximise the pull resulting in an efficient forward motion.
4. Rotate your upper body
Your upper body should rotate on every stroke. As you reach forward with your right hand, your right shoulder should dip down slightly, allowing you to pull more powerfully with your right arm. Think of your upper body rotating in a “corkscrew action” rather than moving side to side.
5. Look down, not forward
It may feel intuitive to look forward as you’re swimming, but this is not the preferred technique. Keeping your face down aligns your neck with the rest of your spine, which reduces the stress on your neck, and places you in a more streamlined position for speed.
As with all new habits, practise makes perfect. Try to implement these tips into your swim session by focusing on one aspect of technique at a time. Gradually it should become more natural, and eventually your body will start adopting good swimming technique automatically.
Every swimmer’s body and style is unique, so it’s best to consult a swimming coach or exercise professional to analyse your swimming technique.