Swimming faster usually comes from the result of increasing the distance and intensity of swim workouts, so that the overall fitness level increases. The key is to learn how to move through the water as efficiently as possible. One crucial thing in order to swim faster with less effort is to swim smarter not harder with the focus being on reducing drag in the water and improving propulsion.
A large focus should be on decreasing the drag and becoming more streamlined in the water. Reducing drag requires skill rather more than excessive force. Here are some tips to help you work on limiting your drag.
i) Work on Balance
The most efficient way to decrease drag is to improve balance by staying as horizontal and streamline as possible when moving through the water. When swimming freestyle keeping your head in line with the spine will help you keep your balance and reduce drag. If you have have an underwater camera film from just below the surface of the water to see how horizontal your body is when swimming.
ii) Compact and efficient kick
The kick will contribute for less than 10% of the stroke propulsion while the arm stroke contribute for the rest. A compact kick should neither break the water surface nor move too low below the body line - otherwise unnecessary drag is created. Try some kicking drills to practice that compact and efficient flick of the legs and feet. Working on core strength will also really help with keeping the body in a streamlined position.
Once you have reduced drag to a minimum, you can work on improving your propulsion. Again, this is mainly done by improving your swim stroke mechanics, as well as building more strength in the required muscles.
i) Work on shoulder and back strength
Having access to more power in the water will prove to be a big advantage when propelling through the water. That is not to say you need to spend hours in the gym bulking up but focussing on the areas which will have the biggest competitive gains. Some exercises to incorporate into into your gym routine to help improve strength in the required muscles would be - standing straight arm pull downs, lat pull downs, seated row and shoulder press to name a few.
ii) Using Your Core
You engage the large back hip and torso muscles while rolling from side to side in the water. Working on core strength will give you better ability to utilise the require stabilising muscles. The synergy between your core muscles and arm muscles allows you to apply more force to your swim stroke.
ii) Anchoring your Arms
Before applying propulsive force in the water with your arm, you need to make sure that your hand and forearm are aligned and facing backward. You can then effectively move your arm backward like a big paddle. This technique is often called the “high elbow catch” in the freestyle stroke because you need to keep your elbow above your hand to be able to successfully do this.
If you can work on these points whilst increasing distance and the intensity of your sessions we can guarantee your swim technique and speed will make a drastic improvement.