Taking the time to learn proper swimming technique is essential to your health and will aid you in getting good results during competitions.

There are four main reasons to learn proper swimming techniques:

  • Avoid Disqualification: USA Swimming and FINA have rules and regulations about competitions, including rules about swimming strokes. Not having simultaneous motions during the breaststroke or flutter kicking during the butterfly will result in a swimmer’s disqualification from a race. Knowing the proper swimming technique will help swimmers avoid being disqualified from a competition.
  • Improve Speed: Proper swimming technique includes how to move your arms and legs through the water smoothly. The fewer splashes a swimmer creates, the faster a swimmer moves. Your goal is to be as streamlined as possible, so with your head down and your hips and feet near the surface of the water, you should decrease the amount of drag and swim faster.
  • Avoid Fatigue: Swimming is a whole-body workout. If you use proper swimming technique, you work larger muscles, and larger muscles are capable of sustained motion longer than smaller muscles. To swim for longer periods of time, avoid getting tired by swimming correctly and using your more powerful muscles to do the work.
  • Prevent Injury: Improper swimming technique can cause injury to four areas of the body: knees, shoulder, hips and neck.
    • Knees: When you kick, the movement should come from your hips. Powering your kick with your knees will place stress on your knees. Proper breaststroke technique is very important because of the unusual breaststroke kick. During a breaststroke kick, the knee’s motion is not an everyday movement, so an incorrect breaststroke kick can lead to a serious knee injury.
    • Shoulder: Arm movements for the stroke start at the shoulder. A strong shoulder helps propel a swimmer forward effectively; however, swimming incorrectly can injure even the strongest of shoulders. Proper swimming technique will protect your shoulders from harm.
    • Hips: The motion of the kick starts at the hips, but improper alignment can injure your hips. Make sure you hold your hips in line with your spine, avoid moving your hips from side to side, and keep your hips high. Healthy hips will result in a strong kick.
    • Neck: It is important to keep your neck in line with your spine. Rotating your head during the butterfly stroke, not tucking your head in during turns, and holding your head above water during any stroke can cause injury to your neck. When you breathe during the freestyle, rotate your body and let your body do most of the work; this will alleviate stress from your neck.

By taking the time to practice proper swimming techniques, you will swim faster for longer periods of time and keep your body healthy.