Swimmers, Increase Your Swimming Efficiency - Play Swim Golf

Swim More With Each Stroke With This Swimming Technique Drill

Michael Phelps plays golf
Learn to play swim golf and improve your swimming efficiency!. Getty Images.

Swimming training often becomes stale with repeated laps, only looking at the black line at the bottom of the pool. Some swimmers correlate boredom with dislike, leading to disliking swimming. Also, the most dedicated swimmers can get stale with the same workout structure. Golf can provide a unique game and provide delightful variation in swimming. Remember, workouts can be enjoyable and beneficial.

Too often swim coaches (and most swimmers) feel a workout must be grueling for effectiveness. Luckily, there are methods for providing a novel training workout, which is not only enjoyable, but provides benefit for the swimmer. Remember, just because it is hard, doesn't make it effective.

Swim Golf

Many think you can only play golf with clubs on green grass, but you can play golf in the pool for enhancing your swimming skill, enjoyment, and training variation.

To learn how to get more out of each stroke, play a game of Golf! This simple swimming drill will help swimmers develop:

  1. Better swimming technique. Placing value on distance per stroke, the swimmer will adapt their stroke, reducing drag and improving technique.
  2. Improved efficiency: Swimming efficiency is essential for success, as an inefficient stroke is slow and tiresome. Combing a technical and performance aspect in the score of the drill, swimmers further enhance efficiency.
  1. Sense of pace: Many swimmers have difficulty properly pacing their swimming races. Poor pacing can impair performance and increase injury risk. Having swimmers perform multiple repetitions while maintaining a stroke rate and time encourages them to properly pace their swimming.

Here's how you play:

  1. Determine a reasonable distance, number of repeats of that distance, and an interval for each repeat - for example, 9 x 50 yards on 1 minute. If you are a distance swimmer, try swimming repeat 100s, sprinters can use shorter distances like 25s.
  1. Perform one repeat.
  2. Count your stroke cycles for that repeat - a cycle is each time your left hand (or your right hand, but only one hand) enters the water.
  3. Note your time for the repeat.
  4. Add the two numbers together for your par score - for example, 45 seconds plus 25 strokes = a par of 70.
  5. Perform the set of 9 x 50 yards, starting a new 50 every 1 minute.
  6. Count your stroke cycles for each repeat, adding that number to your time for each repeat.
  7. Compare this number to your par.
  8. Keep track of the difference. For example, on your first 50 you take 28 strokes and have a time of 40 seconds for a score of 68. Compared to a par of 70, you are two under!
  9. Complete all of the repeats.
  10. Total your score for the front nine.

Do the set from time to time to measure your progress. Focus on something different on different repeats - long strokes, fast strokes, high elbows - and note the results. Technique is more important than brute force. Many sports reply on ground reaction force for performance, but swimming requires precise technique. Remember to do drill work as part of your practices for enhancing your swimming technique and performance.

Unlike most sports where Change the interval and watch the results - what do you learn about your technique when you get more or less rest?

Can you decrease the rest and still stay efficient?

Updated by Dr. John Mullen, DPT on September 17th 2015.