This post is sponsored by Airofit! Check out the Airofit Pro 2.0 Breathing Trainer to strengthen your lungs and boost your accessible lung capacity for better swimming performance. Use our link to save 15%!

Swimming a faster 100 free isn’t as tough as it seems. If you commit to the right training and focus on a few key areas of your technique, you’ll hit a new personal best time before you know it!

Stick around for the four best ways to shave off extra time in your 100 freestyle (or a 100 of any stroke!), plus our top tips for testing your speed and measuring your progress.

4 Steps to Swim a Faster 100 Freestyle

Step 1: Do the Math

So, you know you want to drop 10 seconds, but what does that actually mean for you? It’s time to do some math! 

Break down the 10-second drop into smaller chunks so you know what you need to achieve. Swimming 10 seconds faster means:

  • You have to swim 1 second faster per 10 meters
  • You have to swim 0.1 seconds faster per 1 meter
  • You need to drop 0.3 seconds per day for 30 days

When it comes to swimming faster, it’s all relative. The faster your current 100 free time is, the tougher it will be to achieve a 10-second drop, because there’s less space to improve. Generally, the slower you are, the easier it will be to make speed gains, because the time you drop is a smaller overall percentage of your race. Take a look at these examples:

  • 3:00/100m to 2:50/100m = 5.55% drop
  • 2:00/100m to 1:50/100m = 8.33% drop
  • 1:00/100m to :50/100m = 16.67% drop

The swimmer who is starting at a 1:00 time has to cut more than 16% of their overall time. That’s tougher than the swimmer who starts at 3:00, but it’s possible!

Step 2: Identify Your Strengths & Weaknesses

After you have calculated just how much you’re going to improve your 100 free, it’s time to be honest with yourself. What are you really good at in the water, and what can you improve? 

Chances are, a swimmer who goes 3:00 in the 100 and a swimmer who goes 1:00 in the 100 will have different strengths and weaknesses. It’s up to you to determine where you need to improve most. 

We recommend evaluating yourself on the following criteria. It can be helpful to film yourself swimming to catch some of these technique-specific things! 

Take the time to do a self-assessment of all of the attributes above. Pick a few to work on, and reassess later to see how much you’ve improved!

If breath control is something you struggle with, we recommend adding the Airofit Pro 2.0 Breathing Trainer to your training routine. 

Start with a three-step accessible lung capacity test, and then the Airofit app will build you a personalized breath training program. The daily exercises take less than 10 minutes – just follow the app’s instructions and adjust the resistance levels on the breathing trainer! 

After a few weeks, you’ll start to see improvements in your accessible lung capacity, anaerobic threshold, and breath control. Use our link to save 15% on your Airofit order.

For a full breakdown of the above terms (and other common swimming lingo), check out our post on swimming terminology.

Step 3: Specialized Training

Now that you understand your strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to start training! Break up your 30-day training window into four weeks, each with a different focus:

  • Week 1: Technical Development: Focus on one or two weaknesses. For many swimmers, that’s body or head position, and maybe even the streamline, kick or breathing.
  • Week 2: Capacity Development: Focus on your strengths! This week might include some negative split training and more sets that build your aerobic capacity.
  • Week 3: Speed Development: This is the week to start improving your front- and back-end speed. Add more descending swim sets to push yourself.
  • Week 4: Control & Execution: This final week is all about putting your hard work into practice! You should see some improvement in your weaknesses, plus overall fitness and speed gains. Your training should focus on executing a fast swim when it’s time to race. Don’t hold back! 

Step 4: Test Yourself

Competing in a swim meet is probably the best way to see if your hard work has paid off, but if that’s not possible for you right now, try a Test Set instead!

Test Sets are designed to be repeated regularly, over weeks, months or years, to give you a consistent way to measure your progress. 

The Need For Speed Test Set in the MySwimPro app is designed to challenge your maximum speed in a 100 freestyle. 

Your Need For Speed Test Set will be fully personalized to make sure you have exactly what you need to swim fast, from the intervals to the warmup and cool down. Here’s a peek at what one Need For Speed Test Set could look like.

The Need For Speed Test Set
  • Distance: 1,500 meters
  • Duration: 30 minutes


  • 1 x 300 Free @ 4:20 Easy
  • 4 x 50 Kick @ 1:00 Moderate
  • 4 x 25 Bow & Arrow Drill @ :25 Moderate

Pre Set

  • 4 x 50 Free Descend @ :40 Endurance
  • 4 x 25 Free Descend @ :30 Best Average
  • 1 x 100 Free @ 1:25 Easy

Need For Speed Test Set

1 x 100 Free @ 2:00 RACE PACE*

*Don’t hold back on this 100. Give it all you’ve got to measure your maximum speed!

Cool Down

  • 6 x 50 Free @ :40 Moderate
  • 1 x 100 Free @ 1:25 Easy

Whether you want to drop one second or 10 seconds, the key to fast swimming is consistent training – and following a plan. Check out the MySwimPro app to start a personalized Training Plan that’s designed specifically for you, based on your goals, swimming speed and preferred distance. We recommend checking out the Enhance Speed plan to start!

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