Swimming

Basics:

There is swimming, then there is really impressive SWIMMING. Most of us will have learnt the basics as a child at school, many of us will have left it there, and some will have continued to swim.

Learning to swim is actually quite easy. Learning to swim well with a perfect form through several different strokes is much harder, but incredibly rewarding.

At some point during your swimming career you will be pushing as hard as you can, and some much older, probably fatter person will glide past you with incredible ease, gliding through the water at what looks like an impossible speed. That person can swim really impressively, and is doing what you need to be able to do!

Equipment:

Swimming doesn’t require much. A swimming costume, goggles and a nose clip if you want are the essentials. I will leave the costume to you. Goggle and nose clips are much harder, have to fit very well, and when you don’t get the right one, can ruin your progress.

Goggles

Cressi Flash – $23.67 £10.98
Buy on Amazon US: Cressi Flash
Buy on Amazon UK: Cressi Flash
3/5 Great cheap goggles, but on the small side.

ARENA Cobra Ultra Mirror – $41.53 £33.37
Buy on Amazon US: Arena Cobra Ultra Mirror
Buy on Amazon UK: ARENA Cobra Ultra Mirror
5/5 Very tinted, but otherwise incredibly impressive, if expensive!

Sportastisch ProSwim – $12.97 £15.95
Buy on Amazon US: ProSwim
Buy on Amazon UK: ProSwim
5/5 Very adjustable and feel great in the water.

OYMI Swimming Goggles – £9.99
Not Available in US
Buy on Amazon UK: OYMI Swimming Goggles
4/5 Look great, but fog up easier than other goggles.

Nose Clips

Smiley Nose Clip – $8.49 £7.89
Buy on Amazon US: Smiley Nose Clip
Buy on Amazon UK: Smiley Nose Clip
5/5 Adjustable which is a great feature. Recommended.

Speedo Universal – $6.57 £4.99
Buy on Amazon US: Speedo Universal
Buy on Amazon UK: Speedo Universal
4/5 Pretty good, but still has a tendency to slip off

FINIS Nose Clip – $66.58 £4.33
Buy on Amazon US: FINIS Technical
Buy on Amazon UK: Finis Technical
3/5 Average. Does the job, but not great fitting. US cost is ridiculous!

Speedo Competition – $7.18 £5.40
Buy on Amazon US: Speedo Competition
Buy on Amazon UK: Speedo Competition
3/5 Very tight fitting, good if you have a thin/small nose.

Time & Cost:

Your equipment will hopefully not break the bank. £10-£25

Swimming lessons should you go down that route can be expensive. Make sure to shop around and look for bulk purchases and discounts.

Sessions in your swimming pool are a varied cost. Some council run swimming pools can be very cheap whilst some require memberships which are usually overpriced. If your local one is too expensive, try searching further afield.

Learning the Ropes:

Having failed miserably at swimming at school, many years later I taught myself to swim during my lunchbreaks at work.

YouTube was my learning-medium, I found a style I wanted to emulate. It was a few videos of a Japanese guy gliding effortlessly through the water, not making a splash, yet going very quickly. Each day I made a little more progress. Within a week from being unable to swim I could swim breaststroke. Within a further 2 weeks I had swum a mile breaststroke, at which point I focussed on front crawl. This took a little longer to perfect due to the breathing and getting your head to turn just right and get air. A month of swimming 5 days a week had me swimming a mile. Following this I set off learning the butterfly stroke, which whilst I never made a mile due to the difficulty, I can now do quite well.

Taking lessons would have been easier, but I wanted to do it myself and build towards a specific style/technique.

Dedication and going every day was the important part. It’s very easy to waste time in the water and not progress. Returning every day and pushing myself whilst actively thinking about what was happening every length and every stroke helped enormously.

Verdict:

An essential skill to master. You never know when being a good swimmer may come in handy.

Even if you just want to improve, there is always more you can do to be a better, more confident swimmer.