How to Improve Your Swim Stroke

Swim Stroke Training Plan

A Chinese swimming coach watches his swimmers train from the pool deck in Perth, Australia.
A Chinese swimming coach watches his swimmers train from the pool deck in Perth, Australia.
AP Photo/Steve Holland

Almost any swimming coach will tell you that stroke drills are a key component to any swimming workout. This improves technique while also improving your strength and endurance. Whether you're swimming for fun, fitness or training for a triathalon, stroke improvement should be a key part of your plan.

Try to do at least some sort of stroke work each time you swim. Even if your workout for the day is primarily focused on sprints and training for a competition, you can still use stroke work to recover between sets. Plus, doing stoke work while you're tired will help keep your form from deteriorating when you're tired at the end of a race.

Beginning swimmers should do more stroke work than advanced swimmers -- though anyone can benefit from it. Concentrating on getting your stroke technique right when you're first starting out builds the proper muscle memory. If you're just starting to swim for fitness or for fun (or both) spend at least a third of each workout doing stroke work. Try the different drills and find the ones that work for you. It also helps to have someone else watch you swim and critique your stroke. As your stroke and fitness improve, you can do less stroke work in each workout, but it's something you should never give up. Even among world-class swimmers, stroke work is key, and there's always some way to improve your stroke.

For more information about swimming and other related topics, follow the links below.

Related Articles


  • Bayer, Jeff. "Swimming as a Total Body Workout." (Aug. 31, 2010) .html
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Health Benefits of Water-Based Exercise." (Aug. 31, 2010)
  • Koskella, Kevin. "10 Steps to Improving Your Swim." (Aug. 31, 2010)
  • Mountain View Masters Swim and Social Club. "Swimming Drills." (Aug. 31, 2010)
  • O'Brian, Kerry. "Free/Back Combo Drill." U.S. Masters Swimming. (Aug. 31, 2010)