Becoming a good — or better — swimmer does not come down to swimming more than your competition nor is it having the best gear. When you are looking to become a faster swimmer, it comes down to technique.
It’s no secret that swimming is a technique-driven sport. But it’s a fact that can’t be overstated as water is 800 times denser than air, and you have to move with efficiency. Yet, it’s not uncommon for a swimmer to feel caught in a cycle of frustration, their progress hindered by a lack of insight into proper stroke mechanics.
But it’s hard to know whether you are swimming with good technique. When you hop in the water and push off the wall, all you see is the black lane — not how you are moving through the water. Without that clear view of your technique and the feedback on how you can improve, you can fail to make progress or even see your times get slower.
According to pro triathlete Ben Kanute, a swim analysis is one of the best investments that athletes can make. A swim analysis allows you to get feedback on the mechanics of your stroke, as well as receiving tips and drills for how to make those changes.
From building confidence to preventing injury, a swim analysis offers benefits for swimmers of all levels.
Swim analysis basics
Swimming is one of the best ways to get active and stay active while promoting your overall well-being. Yet, to enjoy your swimming experience and enhance your technique, you have to focus on the mechanics of your stroke. You want to be able to move efficiently through the water.
But how can you focus on efficiency if you can’t see yourself swimming?
Video analysis is an increasingly accessible and popular way for swimmers to work with coaches. The swimmer can record a swim session and submit it to a coach, who can address any issues in the swimmer’s stroke.
However, you might have some questions about the swim analysis process.
What is a swim analysis like?
A swim analysis is a comprehensive evaluation of your swimming technique, form, and performance. Conducted by a qualified coach or swim expert, it involves a detailed examination of your strokes, starts, turns, and finishes to identify areas for improvement.
How does the process work?
Typically, the process involves recording your swimming session. If you are swimming at a pool, you might put a sports camera at the end of the lane or even have a training partner swim next to you.
You can also record yourself swimming in a swim-in-place pool like a Michael Phelps swim spa. With the swim spa, you are able to position the camera at multiple angles and even underwater without having to worry about other swimmers.
A swim spa is a backyard pool alternative that provides a stationary swimming experience. The swim system generates an endless swim current that you can swim against. Michael Phelps swim spas have a variable speed system that can challenge even the most seasoned swimmers.
After downloading the footage, you’ll send it off to a coach for review. The coach will look at various aspects of your stroke, including your hand entry, body position, kick and overall form. Afterward, you receive personalized feedback and recommendations to improve how you swim.
How often should I get a swim analysis?
The frequency of swim analyses depends on your individual goals and needs. For competitive swimmers, regular analyses may be beneficial to track progress and fine-tune performance. For others, an occasional analysis can provide guidance for continued improvement.
How much is a swim analysis?
The cost varies from service to service. Some might start at $50 while others cost $400. It’s important to read customer reviews and look at the details of the package so you choose the one that’s best for you. If the service offers a consultation, schedule one to see if the coach is a right fit for you.
Who can benefit from a swim analysis
Whether you’re learning to swim as an adult or a competitive master’s swimmer, a swim analysis can benefit a range of people.
Adult onset swimmers
If you are learning to swim as an adult, swimming laps can feel like a daunting task. You feel out of breath after just a length or two, and your sessions might feel more like a scene from “Jaws” than a clip from the summer games. A swim analysis can provide a crucial roadmap, helping you to establish a solid foundation in strokes, breathing, and overall form. By addressing the fundamentals early on, beginners can set yourself on a trajectory for success and enjoy your time in a pool.
Swimming is a great form of exercise, especially if you are looking for a low-impact, full-body workout. If you are a fitness enthusiast, a swim analysis can help you improve your stroke and technique so that you are getting the most out of your workout. Becoming an efficient swimmer will not only give your workouts more purposeful but make it a fun and sustainable form of exercise.
When you are trying to not just balance but excel in three sports, efficiency is crucial — and the best way to develop that efficiency is to know how you can improve the swim. The feedback you receive from your analysis will help you improve your overall swimming technique. In addition, you will learn how to conserve energy during the swim leg so you can perform your best in the subsequent stages of the race.
When you are a competitive swimmer, every millisecond can count. A swim analysis can be the difference between hitting your best times and missing out on a medal. For competitive swimmers, the coach will look at the start, turns, and finishes, as well as stroke mechanics. This personalized feedback is instrumental in fine-tuning their performance and gaining a competitive edge.
Masters swimmers, typically older athletes, can face unique challenges related to aging, such as joint issues. A swim analysis can offer tailored recommendations to accommodate this stage in life, promoting longevity in the sport.
Swim analysis benefits
No two swimmers are alike, a swim coach will look at your unique body mechanics, assessing your strengths and weaknesses. With that personalized feedback, you can focus on specific aspects of your technique.
Uncover technique flaws
One of the primary benefits of a swim analysis is the opportunity to identify and correct flaws in your swimming technique. A coach can analyze your strokes, kick, body position, and breathing to identify areas that need improvement. The coach can provide drills and exercises that will help you improve your stroke mechanics and body alignment, allowing you to improve your efficiency in the water. The result? Faster times and a reduced risk of injury.
If you are swimming in a Michael Phelps swim spa, using pool mirrors can help you track your improvements to your stroke. Mirrors provide you with immediate visual feedback on your stroke, kick, and body positioning. This instant reflection allows you to make real-time adjustments and focus on the suggestions from the coach.
Swimming with poor technique can put undue stress on certain muscles, joints, and tendons, leading to overuse injuries. By getting a swim analysis, you can uncover technique-related issues that may be contributing to or exacerbating existing injuries. With the guidance of a swim coach, you can make necessary changes to prevent future injuries and swim with greater ease and comfort.
When you are thinking about becoming a faster swimmer, you might think you need to increase your stroke rate or kick harder. However, your body position can greatly affect how efficiently you swim. A swim analysis provides insights into your body position and other mechanics that cause unnecessary drag. Whether you need to push your chest down or pull harder, learning to swim with greater efficiency can help you use less energy during a workout. You might find that you can swim farther and faster, helping you become a better swimmer.
Individualized training plan
Need some inspiration for a swim workout? Chances are you have hit up your favorite search engine to get a swim set or even a training plan. These online swim training plans might be good but they might not be good for you. Once you complete your swim analysis, the swim coach can develop a personalized training plan tailored to your specific needs. This plan takes into account your strengths, weaknesses, and goals. With a structured plan, you can focus on targeted drills, exercises, and workouts to address specific areas of improvement. By following this plan, you’ll experience more progress and achieve your goals faster.
Your lap times aren’t the only thing taking a hit when you aren’t swimming your best. Your confidence can really be affected when you are struggling to make improvements. A swim analysis will not only help you improve your swimming but your confidence in the water. Through a better understanding of your stroke mechanics and body position, you will gain confidence in your swimming abilities. This newfound confidence can translate into improved race performances, increased enjoyment in the sport, and a greater sense of accomplishment.
Track progress over time
Regular swim analyses offer the advantage of tracking your progress over time. As you implement changes to your technique, you can see how they positively impact your performance. This not only motivates you to continue refining your skills but also provides a tangible record of your improvement journey.
Swimming in a Michael Phelps Swim Spa offers a unique and effective way to track your progress toward becoming a better swimmer. The swim spa features an adjustable current, enabling you to tailor the intensity of your swim. As you progress, you can gradually increase the resistance, providing a measurable metric for your advancement.
Or, you can focus on building endurance and increasing the duration of your swims. And since you don’t have to book a lane or stress about getting to the pool before it closes, you can maintain your routine and swim as long as you would like.
How to buy a swim spa
Do you want to be able to swim, exercise, and relax at home? Having a Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa allows you to swim on your schedule while adding a fun factor to your backyard. You can click here to find out more about the benefits of hydrotherapy and relaxing in a hot tub. Or, contact your local Master Spas retailer to learn more about swim spa ownership. Wondering how much a swim spa costs? You can request a quote here.