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Recharge your swimming routine

Applying basic changes can increase performance, enjoyment and fitness

Regardless of venue or goals--competition or fitness--any swimmer can benefit from assessing his or her goals, techniques, and training program. Now swimming legend Jim Montgomery offers advice for adult swimmers who want to improve their strokes, add variety and purpose to workouts, or learn more about the lifelong sport in Mastering Swimming.

"A successful swimming experience begins with the basics of body balance, relaxed breathing, and efficient stroke technique," Montgomery says. In Mastering Swimming, Montgomery and coauthor Mo Chambers advise swimmers to improve technique for each stroke by analyzing three essential elements:

  1. Maintain a long body line that moves through the water with a minimum amount of resistance.
  2. Generate power from the core.
  3. Stay relaxed and in the flow of the stroke.

Flip-turn technique also gets Montgomery's attention. "Should you choose to compete in a pool meet or simply want to improve your workouts, it is essential that you negotiate the walls quickly, smoothly, and with minimum resistance," he says. Montgomery offers simple, illustrated steps of the basic flip turn. "You will find it is a lot less mysterious-and a lot more fun-than it looks," he adds.

In addition to technique, Montgomery explains that swimmers can improve performance through conditioning and modifying workouts. "Perhaps the most creative part of swimming is molding your workouts to achieve your goals," Montgomery states.

Versatile workouts both in and out of the pool are essential for improved fitness because they work different muscle groups and cause a varied heart rate. "Consistent and well-designed dryland workouts will transform a good swim program into a great swim program," Montgomery explains. "Your time in the gym and your time in the pool will work together to create a balanced and truly injury-proof training program."

Mastering Swimming offers stroke instruction, sample workout plans, and tips for open-water swimming and shaving time off starts and turns. 

For more information, see Mastering Swimming.