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5 Common Swimming Mistakes to Avoid

by Leslie Gabriel August 30, 2015

There's no better way to spend a hot summer afternoon than by swimming a few laps in the pool. Swimming is a fun and rewarding sport that burns calories and improves muscle definition while placing minimal stress on the joints. 

Here is a short list of 5 common mistakes that, when avoided, will bring your swim game to a whole new level.

Mistake #1) Breathing at the Wrong Time - One all-too-common mistake swimmers make is breathing at the wrong time. The key to maintaining a fast pace is to develop a breathing rhythm – taking a breath as soon as your head surfaces and holding your breath right as you go back under. It may take some practice, but you'll eventually find a rhythm that works for you.

Mistake #2) Legs Bent - Your legs and feet do most of the work and are essentially what propels your body through the water, which is why it's important to maintain proper leg posture when swimming. Keep your legs straight and try not to bend your knees. Swimming with your legs bent at the knees increases surface resistance, thus, slowing you down.

Mistake #3) Not Pacing Yourself - Don't make the mistake of exhausting all of your body's energy reserves during the initial first lap. Pace yourself by maintaining a steady speed that's not going to drain you before the race is over.

Whether you're performing a solo or a competitive swim, find a pace that works for you. As you progress, you'll likely be able to speed up your pace without sacrificing energy. This same principle holds true with any time-based competitive sport and swimming is no exception.

Mistake #4) Wide Arm Recovery - A fourth mistake that you'll want to avoid when doing laps in the pool is using a wide arm recovery. Basically, this is when a swimmer's arms are extended straight out. Many beginners assume this technique will generate more speed for them but in reality it only slows them down.

Wide arm recovery creates more surface resistance while placing additional strain on the shoulders, both of which are things you want to avoid while swimming.

Mistake #5) Keeping One’s Body Straight - The last swimming mistake that we're going to discuss is maintaining a straight body. Why is this bad? Again, it all goes back to creating more surface resistance, which ultimately slows you down in the water.

Each stroke you make should twist and turn your body in the respective direction. If you need help with your form, watch other experienced swimmers to see how their body twists in the direction of the stroke.

Now, keep practicing your style and then you can swim like these champs ... Michael Phelps vs Shaq ...


Leslie Gabriel
Leslie Gabriel


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