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7 Most Common Mistakes Beginner Swimmers Make
7 Most Common Mistakes Beginner Swimmers Make
Adam Oxner avatar
Written by Adam Oxner
Updated over a week ago

When you’re getting started with swimming, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. With so much to think about while you swim, it’s easy to fall into bad habits if you aren’t careful.

It’s understandable that you might not be doing things quite right when you’re new to the sport. In this guide we’re sharing the 7 most common missteps we see beginner swimmers make, and how to fix them!

1. Not Having a Plan

When you’re brand new to swimming, it’s ok to head to the pool without a Workout. But once you’ve gotten your feet wet (both literally and figuratively!), it’s time to start a structured plan!


Once you have established a solid routine, it’s important to find a training plan that will help you maximize your time in the water, keep you motivated and help you progress over time. The MySwimPro app has a few great options for beginners, including the Getting Started plan and the Couch to 1k plan.

2. Swimming Too Fast at the Start of the Workout

It’s really common for new swimmers to dive in and start swimming really fast at the beginning of their Workouts. And we don’t blame them — their bodies are feeling good!

However, going out too fast can negatively affect your performance for the duration of your Workout, and may leave you feeling extra fatigued when you’re done. Instead, conserve your energy so you can finish the Workout faster than you started. Think about building your speed throughout your swim.

Begin your swim with a dynamic warm-up on deck, followed by an easy swim in the pool before starting your main set. This will loosen up your muscles and prepare you to feel great for your entire Workout!

3. Not Cross Training

Swimming is an incredible form of exercise. But if you’re really focused on getting faster, it’s important to incorporate cross training into your routine. Many swimmers call this “dryland training,” and it can include bodyweight Workouts, weight lifting, yoga, cycling, running and more.

Mixing up your activities works your muscles in different ways, helps prevent injury, and builds strength that will translate into your swimming.

For at-home dryland training programs, check out the MySwimPro app! Our training programs are great from beginners and advanced swimmers, and include minimal equipment. Try the Dryland for Beginners plan to get started!

Low Impact Cross Training with Hydrorevolution

If you enjoy swimming for its low-impact benefits, you’ll love cross training with Hydrorevolution! Their drag resistance equipment is specially designed to help you build strength in the water without putting excess strain on your joints.

You control the level of resistance based on how hard you pull, or how quickly you move. We have been loving these products:

Aqualogix Hybrid Fins add resistance to your legs to help you improve your kick strength. They come in 3 sizes and are great for all levels of swimmers, especially if you’re trying to improve your kick!

Aqualogix Bells come in 3 sizes and will fire up your upper body. You can do punches, chest press, flys, curls, tricep extensions and more.

The Aquastrength Barbell allows you to simulate kayaking and both push and pull movements. It’s a great cardiovascular and strength Workout!

Head to the pool and use Hydrorevolution equipment for a dedicated cross training Workout, or try it out for some low impact movement on an active recovery day.

4. Taking Too Much Rest Between Sets

When you’re swimming multiple repetitions of 50 meters, 100 meters, etc., your rest time is crucial. If you take too much rest between reps (2 minutes, 5 minutes), you start to lose the aerobic benefits of swimming.

It’s important to rest enough to let yourself recover, but not to let your heart rate drop too much. Following a structured Workout with intervals will help you control your rest time.

Make sure to take rest when you need it, but know that your body is stronger than you think. We improve when we push ourselves out of our comfort zone!

5. Not Having the Right Gear

Gear is super important in swimming. When you first get started, you should have the following:

  • Swimsuit (no t-shirts or basketball shorts!)

  • Goggles

  • Swim Cap (especially if you have long hair!)

If you want to take your gear to the next level, you can add these items to your swim bag:

6. Swimming Too Much

It’s easy to bite off more than you can chew when you’re new to swimming. You’re loving the sport and want to get better, so you go swimming every day and try to max out your distance each time.

While we commend you for your effort, you may be overdoing it! It’s better to build up your distance gradually, so your body has time to adapt and get stronger. Otherwise, you may be stuck with pesky shoulder injuries that will require time off to heal.

A well-structured training plan will progress you safely over the course of a few weeks or months, based on your goal. If you stay consistent, you’ll improve and be able to swim a lot further. Be patient!

7. Going Through the Journey Alone

Swimming is a very social sport, and it can be hard to stay motivated if you train alone. Whether you swim with your local Masters team, with friends or fully solo, make sure you’re part of the MySwimPro Global Community Facebook Group. More than 10,000 swimmers from all over the world are ready to welcome you, support you and hold you accountable to your goals!

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