5 Tips for Massive Time Drop and a Faster 50 Freestyle

The 50 freestyle is the shortest race in the sport of swimming. Many claim you dive in and before you know it, you've hit the wall on the other end. The brevity of the race makes every aspect significantly important. For example, if you miss your turn, there is no time to make-up for the error. Opposingly, if you make a small improvement, massive time drops follow.

Here are 5 tips for a massive time drop for a faster 50 freestyle.

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Don't Breathe

Ryan Lochte doing deep breathing before a race.

I know not breathing may sound impossible to some of you newbies, but trust me it is important for a faster 50 freestyle. If you watch any elite swim race the swimmers typically take 0 - 2 breaths. Less breathing helps streamline the body, as turning the head for the breath alters this position, as well as slows down your stroke rate. 

Make sure you practice not breathing during your 50 freestyle. Try at each practice swimming as far and fast as possible without breathing. On your first attempt you may only make it 1/4 of the pool, but keep working on it, as you should be able to make it 15 - 20 seconds without a breath. Remember, practice it and have a breathing plan before you dive in. If you don't know where you plan on breathing, then you're like to breathe aimlessly throughout the race, immensely slowing you down. 

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Create Power on the Block


If you missed the previous articles on swimming starts, please review these pieces. One simple, but overlooked aspect of the start is the use of the entire body. On the block you have four points of contacts to push or pull. Make sure have your arms tight and pull with both arms, as well as push with both legs off the block. Pushing with both legs has growing importance, with the emergence of the Omega Track Blocks. 

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Clean Entry

2008 Paralympic Games Start of a Race
Competitors compete in the Men's 100m Butterfly - S10 during day two of the 2008 Paralympic Games at the National Aquatics Centre on September 8, 2008 in Beijing, China. Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images

After you create power on the block, a clean entry is pertinent not to dissipate velocity. Attempt to enter through the same hole with your arms, torso, and feet. This clean entry reduces drag and maintains the velocity created on the block. 

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Tighten up Your Streamline

Streamline. Matt King/Getty Images

Improved streamline is one of the easiest methods for a faster 50 freestyle. Off the start (and the turn if it is a short course pool), you carry your highest speed. Therefore, a perfect streamline is necessary for speed maintenance. If you have a poor streamline all the energy created on the start dissipates quickly. It is like having a high performance vehicle. The faster the vehicle, the more aerodynamic it needs to be. For a better streamline, lock your arms behind your head, squeezing the arms together and reaching as far forward as possible. 

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Absorb, then Explode on the Turn (for short course)

Behind the start, the turn is the second fastest aspect of any race. Unfortunately, many swimmers hit the wall, then try to push off the wall immediately. While it is important for a quick turn, a more powerful turn is more quintessential for increasing velocity. Next time you're in the pool, absorb the impact of the turn by breaking at the knees and hips, then explode off the wall, pushing (like a jump) as hard as you can! Just don't forget your tight streamline!


The splash and dash 50 freestyle is a favorite of many age-group and Masters swimmers. Whether you are doing your first 50 freestyle or you've done a thousand, make sure you are performing all these aspects. If you aren't doing these tips, pick one and work on them! As you've noticed, there are a lot of tips for your start. Make sure you practice your start on a daily basis for a faster 50 freestyle.