So, you have big swim goals. But how often should you swim to make those aspirations a reality? Read on for a breakdown of how your weekly swimming schedule impacts your performance in the water, plus three sample swim workouts to try.

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Variables That Affect Training Frequency

1. Goals

What is your goal? Are you swimming for fitness, training for a triathlon, or trying to break a world record? Obviously having more time available will help you reach your goals more quickly, but we have other solutions!

Related: How to Swim 10% Faster in 4 Weeks

2. Time 

How much time do you have per week to train? If you only have two hours per week to swim, we always recommend swimming three 40-minute workouts per week, as opposed to one two-hour swim workout.

Why do we recommend more shorter workouts? When you go more than four days without swimming, you lose your “feel of the water.” This means that your connection with the water decreases, and your workouts will become less effective because you’re restarting every time you hit the water.

We highly recommend swimming at least 2 times per week.

Related: How To Build A Workout Plan

3. History

Have you been training 10 hours per week on average for the past six months? Or 30 hours per week? Or are you brand new? Whatever your level, we recommend ramping up your swimming volume and duration by about 10% per week as you train consistently. That means if you swam 20,000 meters in week one, you should increase by just 2,000 meters total for week two.

4. Other Training 

Consider your other workouts, such as dryland training, running, yoga, cycling etc., because they will all play a part in how much you should be swimming on a weekly basis. Whatever you do out of the water should provide a healthy balance for your swim training.

Building Your Weekly Training Schedule

Depending on the number of swims you can fit in per week, your training focus will vary. Check out these examples:

1 Swim Per Week

  1. Technique
  2. Endurance

2 Swims Per Week

  1. Freestyle
  2. IM / Stroke

3 Swims Per Week

  1. Endurance
  2. IM / Stroke
  3. Speed

4 Swims Per Week

  1. Technique / Kick
  2. Endurance
  3. Stroke
  4. Speed

6 Swims Per Week

  1. Endurance
  2. IM
  3. Power
  4. Stroke
  5. Technique
  6. Speed

Why You Should Swim Every Day

From improving your strength and flexibility to building character, swimming every day has some amazing benefits! Learn why:

Free Example Workouts

Like these workouts? Download the MySwimPro app for more Workouts just like these, plus personalized Training Plans designed specifically for your goals, speed and skill level.

Speed Focus Workout (45 minutes – 1,800 yards):

Warmup:

  • 4 x 100 Freestyle
  • 4 x 50 Kick

Main Set (3x):

  • 4 x 50 Freestyle
  • 1 x 100 Freestyle

Cool Down:

  • 1 x 200 Freestyle

Endurance Focus Workout (45 minutes – 2,300 yards): 

Warmup:

  • 1 x 400 Freestyle
  • 3 x 100 IM

Main Set (2x):

  • 5 x 100 Freestyle
  • 1 x 200 Pull

Cool Down:

  • 1 x 200 Freestyle

Stroke / IM Focus Workout (45 minutes, 1,800 yards):

Warmup:

  • 1 x 300 Freestyle
  • 6 x 50 Kick

Main Set (1x):

  • 1 x 200 IM
  • 4 x 50 IM
  • 3 x 100 IM
  • 4 x 50 IM
  • 1 X 100 IM
  • 4 X 50 Freestyle

Cool Down:

  • 4 x 50 Freestyle

For more workout ideas and personalized Training Plans designed for your goals, download the MySwimPro app! Save $35 on your first year of training with code SWIM35 >

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27 Comments

  1. I’m training someone for an open water swim and year from now. Right now she’s only swimming with me once a week. I tried to encourage her to come in her own, but don’t think she will. She’s not in swimming shape, because she’s been running, training for marathons.

  2. Susan Harris on

    Thanks for the tips. If I swim 5 days per week, but don’t do weights much, would it be better to swim 4 days and do weight twice a week?
    Thank you.

  3. Hi, I swim 2 times per week, is that enough for toning my body ? I’d be happy to hit the pool and swim more but unfortunately I don’t have the time 🙁

  4. Hi! I have two options, i swim 3 times per week and go one time to gym or 2 times swim and 2 times gym.
    But if i change week cycle to 10 day cycle and then i swim 3 times and go 3 times in gym , what you think does it work?
    I go masters competition in april

  5. Hello! I feel stupid for asking this but what is the difference between the ”Freestyle” and the ”Kick”? Thank you!

    • Taylor Holmes on

      Hi Pedro,
      Good question! Freestyle is a full stroke with both your arms and legs moving. For “kick,” you only use your legs. You can place your hands and arms on a kick board to kick, or kick in a streamline position on your stomach or on your back (with your hands above your head).

    • Taylor Holmes on

      Hi Peter,
      Good question! Freestyle is a full stroke with both your arms and legs moving. When you do “kick,” only your legs are moving. To kick, you can use a kick board to keep your arms and hands afloat, or you can kick in a streamline position (hands above your head) on your back or on your stomach.

  6. Hi, I do swimming to increase my height. Did it for thrice a week each an hour session. will it be enough effective for my body?

  7. Hi,
    I have been swimming regularly (3 – 5 times a week) in the past but I’m a huge sportfanatic. So I was wondering if swimming once ( maybe twice) a week would be harmful to my swimming abilities or would I still improve? Next to swimming once a week I would do 3 gym sessions, 3 yoga sessions, 1 martial arts session and a field workout (sprinting and SAQ training).

    • Taylor Holmes on

      If only there were 10 days in a week! 🙂 As long as you’re varying your workout intensity and mixing in cross training, 10 workouts per week can be doable. Just take time to work yourself up to that!

  8. Hi there,
    Now because of corona virus, I haven’t swam for about 1 year and 5 months, but I’m starting again after the swimmer holidays. Before the corona virus, when I was 11, I used to swim 5 days a week and 1 day of running while doing a 4km run another day. Now that I am starting swimming soon again, I don’t know how much I should swim. I am 13 now. I know that some girls are unable to have kids if they do too much training, how much is too much?

    • Taylor Holmes on

      Hi Nikoletta! It’s exciting to hear that you’re getting back in the water soon! Take it slow and listen to your body for your first few swims. Don’t try to do a workout that is as long or as tough as you were doing before the pandemic. Start with a short, easy swim and gauge how your body feels afterward. Starting with 3 times a weeks is probably a safe bet. Try to increase your distance by only about 10% per week so your body can get used to training again!

  9. Hi!
    My son (14 years old) is swimming as following:
    – 6 afternoon sessions per week: 3500-5000 meters per session with main focus on endurance and speed.
    – 3 early morning sessions per week: 2000 meters per session with main focus on technique and hypoxia.
    Furthermore, he goes to gym 6 times (1:30 hours) per week, attending 2 to 3 proffesional basketball sessions per week, and practicing 1 hour plank exercises everyday at least.
    He has an ambition byound the national competitions, but is this an overload for a teen of his age? Are their any negative side effects?

    • Hi there! Is he finding that he is unable to perform well during each training session because he is feeling overloaded and fatigued? Training volume can be very personal, and if the athlete has built up to this level over time, it may be fine. But if he wants to reduce his training volume, it may help to reduce the gym sessions to 3-4 times a week and basketball to once a week. Can he incorporate a few plank exercises into his gym workouts instead of dedicating a full hour to them?

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