If the heroics of Peter Bol had us all taking up running over the winter, the knock-on effects of Ariarne Titmus and Emma Mckeon’s heroics at 2020 mean that, inevitably, the warmer weather is going to bring your summer workouts to the water. And so it should. Swimming is almost universally regarded as one of the best ways to build both cardio and strength in a low-impact way, and if it isn’t already, should absolutely be finding its way into your health and fitness rotation. Even a few laps at the beach or an ocean pool a week is a worthwhile place to start, and once you get the bug, you’ll be hooked. But if you’re only just quite literally dipping your toe back into the water, here are some essential tips to get you started.
Slow and steady wins the race
Outside of the Olympic squad, no-one is jumping into the pool to try and swim blazing fast 50s. Swimming is first and foremost about fitness, and that means you’ll likely get much more out of trying to increase your endurance and ability to swim steadily for longer and longer, each time. The more steady you are, the more your form will progress, and that’ll likely help you get faster and more efficient, anyway.
Don’t skimp on the essentials
You wouldn’t hit the road for a 5k without a decent pair of running shoes, so don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll get away with wearing a pair of boardies to the pool either. Even the most entry-level swimmers wear swimming specific gear for a reason: everything else slows you down. Getting some decent swimming bottoms, a cap and some goggles will give you the best chance of hitting the water running (or swimming?). Training aids like kickboards, paddles and floaters are also great for helping you build strength and focus on different areas of your form.
Don’t be ashamed of living life in the slow lane
If this is your first time swimming laps since your school swimming carnival, chances are you’re not going to be that fast. And while it might seem a little embarrassing to share the slow lane with the kids and the geriatrics, believe us: it’s a lot better than trying your luck in the medium lane and getting in people’s way. Choose the lane that suits your speed, and watch yourself get better over time.
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