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Learn To Swim Like A True Professional

By Martin Jameson

Learning to swim like a professional in a matter of weeks isn't as unrealistic as it may seem. While you might not be able to compete in the Olympics (maybe in a few years), you could certainly find yourself ready to compete in amateur competitions.

Getting Started
When you get your mind on something it's all too tempting to jump straight into the deep end; however, if you're a beginner you'll certainly have an easier time starting short and shallow. Use a lane that has a depth of 4ft or less and is no longer than 20 yards. It's important to build up your stamina and make slow progressions so you can focus on your technique.

Do not swim in board shorts! According to Livestrong.com even hair follicles can affect drag, so imagine the impact of board shorts. You'll need a good pair of Speedos. This can feel strange if you aren't used to wearing them, but you'll get used to the feeling in no time. Swimming with board shorts will make you less streamlined, slow you down, and affect your overall technique.

Get a decent pair of goggles. Generally speaking, the more expensive you go the better they'll be. However, bear in mind that even with a decent pair of goggles you'll probably have to strengthen the nose straps at regular intervals.

Developing Your Technique
It's important to start off with the basics. If you don't know exactly what you're doing or how they are affecting your movement, your speed and stamina will suffer.
1. The most important element of swimming is streamlining your body. Keep it horizontal so your head in line with your spine - you should be looking straight down.
2. Too much kicking will cause you to lose energy. Dive your arm underwater and use each foot to gently flick your hip into position and set up the arm that's about to move.
3. Focus on your shoulder movements and try to keep them rounded. They should naturally flow around the contours of the ball-and-socket joint.
4. The movement should come from your hips. By turning your hip you can extend your arm further, which provides more travel time for each stroke.
5. Penetrate the water with your fingers angled downwards to give your movement more fluidity.
The most important element of improving your technique is forgetting about your workout. Don't think about your heart rate or how much fat you're burning; think about whether or not you're moving your body properly. Take regular breaks to review your technique. If you carry on without assessing the quality of your swimming you'll develop bad habits.

Devise A Practice Regime
Note the word "practice" not workout. If you want to learn to swim like a professional, developing good technique should take precedence over your exercise routine. While you'll almost certainly tire while learning, it's better to fit it in alongside your standard workout.

Before you jump into the water make sure you have the right equipment. Mail Sports are a swim specialist with a huge selection of products that will help you get started.

Image: Hector Alejandro

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