In a swimming slump? Sick of people telling you to “swim more” or “swim faster” to shake things up? If you’re dragging yourself to the pool, in a plateau, or the laps just seem tedious, here are a few different ways to breathe some life into your swim training without actually swimming more laps.
1. Look Good, Feel Good, Swim Faster
Everyone feels better when they dress their best so why not get that boost for your swim. Splurge on a racing suit to get that Phelps feeling before a 100 m test or before your key swim workout for the week. If your looking for a bang for less buck, spoil yourself with a new swimsuit. A small change in how you look can influence how you feel and we all know small changes in swimming can make a difference, even if it’s just your mood.
2. New Gear, New Fun
Swimming toys are great for breaking up the monotony of laps and you might already have the basics but a new toy can breathe some excitement into your swim training. A swim tether is a fantastic tool to increase strength, power, and find weaknesses in your technique but they are also just plain fun. Whether you swim against the resistance or—even more fun—swim with it for a mega speed boost, a tether might kick your butt but it will be a great injection of fun.
Replacing a standard toy is also a great way to get you more excited to swim. Have fins but hate the way they chafe your ankles? Try higher-end silicone fins. Hate the way your snorkel always moves or gives you a headache (or can’t remember the last time you cleaned it)? Upgrade or try going bracket-less. Constantly de-fogging or emptying leaky goggles? Get a custom-fit pair.
3. Go Wild
Wild swimming was all the rage during the pandemic when pools were closed but, regardless if you tried open water swimming during the pandemic or not, a change of scenery can do wonders. Not only will swimming outdoors bring a sense of adventure and take you to a (hopefully) beautiful natural setting, but it will bring a whole new set of challenges and joys. Whether it’s learning to glide in the waves or enjoying the freedom or no walls, escaping the pool might just be the best thing for your pool swimming. If you’re nervous about swim training in the open water, there’s benefits to be had for just going for a dip. Wade in the ocean, float in a lake, put your feet in a river— a new experience can rekindle a sense of fun with the water. Whether you’re swimming or just “dipping” always prioritize safety and never go alone.
4. Change Pools
If wild swimming isn’t an option, try changing pools. A new pool, especially if you can change from a 25 to a 50 meter or from an indoor to an outdoor, can shake up your routine. A new environment, meeting new people, and even different pool water can help freshen things up. If you’re going to try an outdoor pool, don’t forget your tinted goggles and sunscreen.
5. Stay in the Same Place
If you feel like your swimming has plateaued, either physically or mentally, maybe being stuck is exactly what you need. Specialized swim coaches with infinity pool facilities offer stroke analysis and even coached training sessions. Having a new set of eyes on your stroke and someone to give real-time feedback can pay big dividends. Take advantage of the feedback not just for stroke correction but for training methods as well. Ask for new drills, different mental cues, or even dry land exercises to help you bust out of your plateau.
Nothing will get you excited about swimming like stepping on a start line.Looking for a local open water swim race or local masters racing can giveyour relationship with swimming a big jolt. If you’re a triathlete, why not step onto the start blocks and race in the pool? If you’re a pool swimmer,give a open water swim race a try. In any case, you’ll be kicked out of your comfort zone and face new challenges, meet new people, and you might just find a whole new source of motivation.