How to Drop Time in Swimming

How to improve swimming speed with a stop watch

It’s the same question every swimmer asks, “how do I swim faster?” When swimmers want to know how to drop time in swimming, their approach is often to slowly increase the number of lengths they are doing each week. This tactic is beneficial for improving endurance, but it most likely won’t help swimmers drop time. 

So, what’s the quickest and most efficient way to cut time off swims? If you want to learn how to improve your speed in the water, it’s all about mastering technique. 

How to Drop Time in Swimming: Focus On Technique

Six primary components contribute to your swim times. And while endurance is essential, all elements center around your technique. By mastering your technique in a way that becomes second nature, you can shave time off your swims and become a better competitor. 

  1. Balance – While it may not seem that important when you’re in the water, balance is the number one thing that contributes to your speed in the pool. The goal is to minimize drag, which pushes against you while you’re swimming, causing you to slow down. By swimming parallel to the water, you can limit the impact of the drag and cut time off your swims. 
  2. Kick – Want to know how to drop time in swimming? Focus on building a better kick. The fastest competitive swimmers all have mastered their kick. Focus on your body position, hip drive, force, and a good finishing boost when nearing the wall. 
  3. Pull – Suffering from a lackluster pull? During your freestyle stroke, do your best to ensure your elbow doesn’t drop below your wrist. A low-elbow catch is usually the leading cause of a bad pull. Focus on building your back muscles and keeping your elbows high to increase speed.
  4. Length – To drop times on your swims, think long and strong. Master the timing of your strokes and lengthen your body as much as possible. Your body position in the water will hugely impact your speed. 
  5. Rotation – Air has less resistance than water, so the more you can get your body out of the water while swimming, the faster your swim times will be. Rotate effectively by presenting a smaller portion of your body’s mass to the water with each stroke. Rotating your body will also help prevent fatigue, helping you keep your muscles engaged throughout your entire swim. 
  6. Breathing – How you time your breathing in a swim can impact your ability to swim faster. This is often the final piece of the puzzle because once you master your balance, kick, rotation, and pull, then timing your breathing becomes a little more natural. 

Thinking about how to drop times in swimming can quickly become overwhelming. Instead of focusing on all things at once, pick one and try to get to a point where it becomes second nature. You’ll notice that each time you master another part of your swim technique, your times will improve.  

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