People have a wide range of fears and reasons for not learning and why they are later ready to do so. Some people learn as kids. Others wait until adulthood. Some people have had horrific experiences with the water. Others have unfortunately lost family members from drowning. Competitions and vacations are another reason many want to learn to swim later in life. The triathlon explosion requires efficient swim skills which many lack. Summer beach vacations necessitate the ability to comfortably be in the water to snorkel, scuba or just plain enjoy wading in with confidence. Some people ask for tips and advice. Others wouldn’t dare. May do not even know they could easily make a lot of improvements. Here are a few techniques and skills for freestyle swimming to keep in mind to make swimming easier and much more enjoyable.

86546826 Slow down and take your time.

Efficient and easy swimming should be fluid. This means taking long strokes and not frantically circling your arms. Try not to rush. Try to cover a lot of ground with less strokes.

Chloe-26 Kick in a smooth, calm manner.

The kick propels and powers your movement. Many people forget to kick or kick to slowly and this causes the body to sink. Your feet should barely break the surface of the water. This will keep your body near the surface of the water in a horizontal position, optimal for swimming.

978078-swimming-trials Kick from the hips, not the knees.

Swimming is nothing like bicycling, but many people bend their knees when swimming. Your legs should be fairly straight. The kick originates from the hip with the feet pointed behind you, not towards the ground. Increased flexibility here helps, but extending the legs will help your kick propelling you along much quicker and easier.

0467648 Shish kabob in the water.

What does that mean? People believe they should be flat on the water with the face and body always facing the bottom. It is actually better to rotate along your midline axis. So think, swivel hips to left and right. Imagine you have a bar running through your body from your head to bum and slightly rotate to one side of the pool and the other in between strokes.

1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games Don’t be afraid to get your face wet.

Keep your eyes looking at the bottom of the pool or body of water. This creates optimal swimming position. Remember, you are in shallow water and can stand up if need be. Be persistent with this position. Swimming with your head up drops your body farther in the water and make forward progress very difficult as your feet are very deep and struggle to lift your arms out of the water.

Divers-4 Exhale your breath when your face is in the water.

Holding your breath prevents you from getting enough oxygen when swimming and quickly tires a swimmer out. It also makes it more difficult to exhale and inhale when your head is turned out to the side to breathe.

swim-crawl4 Be quiet as you swim.

Think smooth, calm and quiet as you swim. You shouldn’t be slapping the water but easily entering your hands into the water. You shouldn’t be kicking like you are being pursued by a shark. These are just a few tips for many common swim errors I see on a regular basis. Try a few of these and see how much easier swimming becomes for you. Do not be afraid to ask others for some pointers. Also take time to watch some swimming footage online and/or from the Olympics, and note what great swimmers do in the water all around you. If all else fails, get some swim lessons or join a swim league. Practice makes perfect only when you are practicing correctly. In no time you will be amazed by how much easier it feels and how much longer you can swim. ( By Kyle Washburn from www.edgeonthenet.com )

Note: Kyle Washburn is the National Health and Fitness Editor at Edge Publications, Inc. He earned a BS in Physiology, M.Ed in Sport Psychology and Counseling and an MBA. He is a certified personal trainer through NASM and ACE and has been training for over ten years. He is an avid triathlete, softball and tennis player, runner, hiker and enjoys the outdoors.