As a kid, I was an avid swimmer. I was nowhere near an expert, but I was in a pool, swimming laps, almost every day of the summer. My form was probably poor then, but nobody instructed me otherwise.

As a "pushing-40" adult, I'd like to get back into swimming, potentially training for a triathlon (haven't hit the bikes yet). I know my form is poor and want to get better. What are resources, exercises, methods that the SE community can recommend to get me (re)started?

TIA, Larry

1 Answer 1


Your absolute best bet is going to be finding a decent instructor (not a coach, although they can be the same person, it isn't often you find both in one entity) and getting stroke instruction. Swimming is a very form intensive sport, to where correct form has a significant impact on both competitive times and on longevity. Bad form can easily wreck shoulders and cause other injuries.

Another good resource, oddly enough, is youtube. There are quite a few good instructional videos on there, and I also recommend a virtual instruction site such as Finding Freestyle.

You may also hear recommendations for Total Immersion, which I don't find to be a bad system for teaching beginners to be comfortable in the water, with a basic stroke that functions decently. My main contention is that I don't find it teaches a very fast style of swimming, it teaches you to complete, rather than compete the swim. However, there are some individuals that have used the system and are quite speedy, so it may work for you as well.

  • I'd say that the skills in Total Immersion is necessary but sometimes not sufficient for meeting speed goals. Balance, rolling, and front quadrant swimming are an essential foundation that optimal propulsion can't decrease the need for. Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 13:13
  • Front quadrant swimming as a concept pre-existed TI by quite a bit. It is discussed in Swimming Even Faster and many other publications, and along with modifying the center of buoyancy, is based on a 'long hull' hydrodynamic concept. I didn't see any Olympic marathon or distance swimmers last time around who neglected this concept completely. Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 15:19
  • The point, however, was not about FQS, but about TI being a useful tool on the path. Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 15:24
  • You are correct on both counts.
    – JohnP
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 18:48
  • The advice to find an instructor is excellent. I was in the same position as you, at about the same age or a bit older, and even just a few lessons with instructors helped me immensely.
    – jetset
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 23:17

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