How to Swim Freestyle Without Getting Tired (5 Easy Steps)

Swimming is unique in that it can quickly tire out even the most aerobically fit athletes. Runners, cyclists and other fit folks are often shocked at how quickly they fatigue in the pool

But not everyone in the water is getting tired. Many swimmers seem to be able to effortlessly cruise up and down the pool indefinitely. So, what do they know that you don’t?

Today, we’re going to break-down how you can swim freestyle without getting tired. We’ll look at the most common energy-drains and show you to swim further with less effort.

Ready to get started? Let’s go.

1. Use Trickle Breathing

Holding your breath while swimming can be useful for sprinting short distances. But when it comes to swimming freestyle without getting tired, it’s important to master trickle breathing.

Trickle breathing is when you slowly and consistently exhale the air you’ve taken in during your last breath.

It’s in contrast to explosive breathing, which is where you hold your breath, and quickly exhale and inhale when it’s time to breathe.

Holding your breath means it’s harder to fully exhale all of the air in your lungs. This means you’ll have to gasp for air at each breath which can create a panicked feeling and you’ll also have a higher Co2 concentration in your blood, which can make you feel exhausted.

Trickle breathing ensures a rhythmic cycle of breath which keeps you calm, relaxed, and focused while also expelling ‘used air’ effectively. The result? Swimming feels easier.

Practice: To master trickle breathing, kick a length using a kickboard with your face in the water. When you lift your face to breathe, focus on slowly exhaling the air via both your nose and mouth before taking your next breath. Keep your face relaxed.

2. Get The Right Body Position

If you’ve read some of our other blog posts, you’ll know we’re always talking about getting the right body position in the water.

That’s because without the correct body position you’ll incur excess drag meaning you’ll have to work harder to swim the same distance as someone with proper body position.

The most common fault we see is that people’s legs are sinking. This happens when your head is too high in the water and your weight is unevenly distributed. To fix this you’ll need to put more weight on your upper chest.

Practice: Next time you’re swimming imagine you’re pressing a beach ball down into the water with your chest. This will cause your legs to rise, close to the surface, and dramatically reduce the amount of drag on your body. Less drag = easier swimming.

3. Pace Your Swimming Better

This one might sound a little obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of swimmers who go too hard early on in their training and races.

Pacing is all about knowing your ability and knowing your limits. If you’re using up too much energy too early, you’ll find the tail end of your swim a total slog.

In training, this means instead of trying to do one big long swim, you split your total distance up into sets with appropriate rest periods.

For example, instead of trying to swim 400m in one go, it’s much easier to swim 8x50m with 20 seconds rest after each repeat. In fact, you’ll probably find you can do 12x50m repeats and still find it easier meaning you can get more total distance with this approach.

Practice: Start your training and races with speeds and distances you find easy. Make sure you have enough rest between your repeats that’ll allow you to successfully complete the next one. You’ll get more volume overall and soon long-swims will feel like a doodle.

4. Ease Up on Your Kick

Your legs are made up of the largest skeletal muscles; your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. These big muscles are great for powering us over land, but when it comes to swimming long distances, they often consume more energy than they give back in power.

Your leg muscles require a disproportionately large amount of oxygen to power themselves. At most your kick is going to contribute to about 30% of your propulsion (and that’s in an all-out sprint). But they charge you a very large oxygen fee for that speed.

Now don’t get us wrong, we’re in no way saying that a solid kick isn’t important for swimming. It’s just that if you want to know how to swim freestyle without getting tired, you need to understand that for longer distances it’s best to revert to a more sustainable two-beat kick.

Practice: Reduce excessive kick when you’re not sprinting or racing short distances. Using a pull buoy in training can be a fantastic way to help you swim farther without getting exhausted.

5. Swim More Often

Here’s the truth: the more you swim, the easier it becomes. Swimming fitness is highly specific. That means even if you can run a marathon, a couple of lengths will fatigue you if you’re not swimming regularly.

There’s just no getting around the fact that you need to get in the water frequently if you want to find it easier.

Ideally, that would mean you’re swimming two or more times per week. However, any improvement in your current swimming frequency and duration will cause you to feel less tired

Practice: Add an extra swimming session to your current routine. If you can’t add an additional swimming session, add more sets to increase the volume of your current sessions.

SwimNow Can Help You Get There!

Learning how to swim freestyle without getting tired requires consistency, dedication, and patience. One proven way to make the process easier is by working with an experienced coach.

After instructing thousands of swimmers across the UK we’re confident that we can get you swimming longer distances with ease. If you’ve been struggling to swim farther without getting tired why not book a private lesson with one of our instructors today?

Check out our locations here.

by Alistair Mills

In 2016 I saw an opportunity for a new swimming company that did things a little bit differently and here we are almost 4 years later, having built a family of teachers and clients that we are all really proud of.

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