Swimming can be incredibly difficult to master, but it doesn’t have to be! 

Many people struggle to enjoy swimming because they’re making big mistakes in their freestyle technique and training approach. Take our advice, and you’ll be swimming faster in no time.

1. Swimming Without a Plan

If you have specific goals, doing random workouts (or repeating the same workouts over and over) is a surefire way to make sure you never improve. 

The key to making progress in the pool is to continually challenge yourself. It might not always be fun to get out of your comfort zone, but that’s the only way you’ll get faster!

Ideally, you will train with a specific plan in mind. What is your end goal? Whether it’s competition, weight loss or lifetime fitness, set smaller, achievable goals that you can work toward week after week, month after month, so you never hit a plateau.

If you swim alone, check out the MySwimPro app for structured training plans and personalized workouts that are created specifically for your goals, speed and skill level. All you have to do is go to the pool and start swimming – MySwimPro handles the rest!

2. Swimming With Just Your Hands

A lot of swimmers think that they should pull water with their hands…and they’re right, to a point. But if you only focus on your hands, you’re going to swim a lot slower.

The reality is that you pull water with your hand and forearm. Focus on engaging the Early Vertical Forearm technique to increase the power of your pull. 

When your fingertips enter the water, extend your arm forward as much as possible, and then initiate your pull by pointing your fingers toward the bottom of the pool, keeping your elbow high and your hand, wrist and forearm engaged and in line. 

Pull straight back, maintaining the high elbow, and feel the difference! Learn more about Early Vertical Forearm here.

3. Kicking Too Much

Kicking is important, don’t get us wrong. But depending on your goals, you might be kicking too much! 

If you are focused on elite sprinting and racing to get from one end of the pool to the other as quickly as possible, you’re going to want to kick your legs like crazy. 

Related: How to Fix 5 Common Kicking Mistakes

But many swimmers kick too much in training. You just don’t need to be kicking fast during most swim sets! Because your legs are the largest muscle group in your body, excess kicking can tire you out very quickly.

Instead, focus on swimming hip-driven freestyle. We want to be more concerned with our rotation, and how our kick supports that rotation, rather than the kick being the primary source of propulsion.

Sometimes it can be helpful to think about your kick as a way to maintain proper body position and drive rotation.

4. Not Having Any Rhythm

No, we aren’t talking about your rhythm on the dance floor…we’re talking about your stroke rhythm! Establishing a consistent breathing rhythm when you swim can help you maintain your technique and stroke tempo over longer distances. 

Related: 4 Freestyle Breathing Drills for Beginners

You don’t want to hold your breath too much when you swim. It might seem better to breathe as little as possible, but doing so limits your body’s oxygen supply, which can leave you feeling extra tired after each length. In some races, like the 50 freestyle, swimmers will breathe no more than once or twice…or maybe not at all! But they aren’t doing that in training.

Play around with different breathing patterns to find what is most comfortable for you. Many swimmers breathe every two or three strokes. And yes, it’s totally ok to breathe to just one side!

5. Fighting the Water

Many swimmers try to muscle their way through the water, and end up fatigued and frustrated as a result. Trying to power through with an aggressive, splashy stroke will only take you so far. 

Water is 800 times more dense than air, which means that efficiency is the name of the game if you want to swim faster. You can’t fight against the water and expect to win…you have to work with it!

If you splash a lot when you swim, try practicing silent swimming. Take a few lengths to engage all of your senses as you swim. Try to swim as silently as possible: Slide your hands into the water with as minimal splash as possible. Kick with minimal white water. Take a moment to notice what you see as you swim and how the water feels. What do you hear? Connect with the water and you’ll swim more efficiently!

Ready to take your swimming to the next level? Download the MySwimPro app and get a new, personalized swim workout every day! Share your training tips and tricks in the comments!



  1. Hello,

    I need to know the following.

    I am 48y male in Bangalore, India how do I buy your coaching through myswimpro.

    Which smartwatch and phone should i have to use your app.

    Should I wear the watch and carry a Bluetooth phone in the pool during practice.

    Which watch and phone should i have for using your app. I have a OnePlus Android smartphone, can i use the same?

    How will the progress be monitored incase i don’t complete the drills in the time given for sets.

    Should I record my practice and send it through the app?

    Is there any other swimmers using the app in Bangalore? Any offline coach?

    I can swim as a beginner but need your help for correction, timing improvement, more planned training for participating in masters competition.

    What food, nutrition, land excercise will also be mentioned in the app?

    Please send the link for subscription plans.

    M: 7353106925(WhatsApp)

    • Hi Praveen,

      MySwimPro is available for Android phones. You can download it in the Google Play store!

      The app is compatible with Apple and Garmin smartwatches. You can see a full list of our compatible watches here: https://support.myswimpro.com/en/articles/6350438-compatible-smartwatches

      You should not need to bring your phone to the pool with you. With MySwimPro, certain watches have the capability to show every set in your workout so you don’t need your phone with you. Otherwise, you can print a PDF of the workout to keep by the pool, or write it on a piece of paper to bring with you.

      When you sign up for MySwimPro, you will enter your times for all of the strokes you can swim. The app uses these times to personalize each interval times, so you should not have an issue with missing any intervals. You can learn more about that here: https://support.myswimpro.com/en/articles/6350457-setting-up-personalized-intervals

      If you swim with a smartwatch, you will sync your watch to MySwimPro when you sign and all of your workouts will automatically log in the app. More info about that here: https://support.myswimpro.com/en/articles/6350450-how-to-swim-with-myswimpro-garmin

      If you don’t use a watch, you will have to log a workout manually. You can learn more about that here: https://support.myswimpro.com/en/articles/6350455-how-to-swim-with-myswimpro-without-a-watch

      We have an Ambassador who lives in Bangalore and swims with MySwimPro! His name is Bhaskar. You can follow him on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/b2gogoi/

      For help with technique, you can refer to the technique videos in the app for detailed instruction on drills and proper technique. To train for a competition, we recommend you start a training plan in the app!

      You can add dryland training to any training plan, or choose individual dryland workouts from the workout library. MySwimPro does not offer nutrition advice. If you require additional guidance with that, we recommend you reach out to a registered dietitian.

      You can sign up for a free, 7-day trial here: https://myswimpro.com/coach/

  2. Very detailed article! I love all the points, especially the 3rd one. Beginners tend to kick hard and they kick a lot. This is what makes them feel exhausted so quickly. Hope more swimmers stumble upon this article.

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