Missed Part I of “How to Swim,” which discussed how to hold your body and how to move your arms?  Check it out here.


Hi Healthy Tipping Point readers!  It’s Ryan (from Greens for Good)! After helping Caitlin with her swimming technique, she asked me to write a post with some swimming tips. I started swimming competitively when I was 7 years old, continued through high school, contemplated swimming in college but decided not to because of a shoulder injury, and switched gears by becoming a swim instructor instead. So whether you’re training for your next triathlon like Caitlin, or would like to improve your recreational swimming techniques, I hope I can help. If you have any questions following this post, please visit my contact page or email me: ryan [at] greensforgood [dot] com.


3. How to move your legs:

  • Think of kicking from your hips, rather than your knees. Kicking primarily from your knees will cause your lower body to sink. Your knees can bend slightly in the upward motion of your kick.
  • Your legs should alternate, one up, one down, while kicking. Your feet should be pointed (I call them ballerina feet when teaching young kids).
  • Your kick should resemble a butterfly’s fluttering wings. After all, we do call it a flutter kick for a reason! Quick, short movements just under the surface of the water will keep your upper body from overworking to compensate for an improper kick.
  • You shouldn’t be splashing too much unless you’re sprinting. By keeping your feet moving quick under the surface of the water, you’ll cause the surface to break and splash just a little. The more splashing you’re doing, the more time your feet are spending out of the water, defeating the purpose of your kick and ultimately wasting your energy.


4. How to breathe:

  • Breathing efficiently is key to not interrupting the rhythm of your stroke. To do this, always exhale under water and inhale out of water. 
  • Turn your head to the side when one arm is in front of you (by your head) and one arm is behind you (by your hip). So if your right arm is in front, turn your head to the left. If your left arm is in front, turn your head to the right. Inhale. Turn your head back into the water and immediately begin to slowly exhale. Exhale completely under water before turning your head again for another breath.
  • As you get more comfortable and more in shape, work on not taking too many breaths. Even the most efficiently formed breathing slows a swimmer down.


Let me know how it goes for you. Happy Swimming!



  • Freya @ foodfitnessandfreya.wordpress.com January 20, 2010, 5:05 pm

    Good post! It’s making me want to go swimming again, I haven’t swum since summer..too long!! 🙂

  • Ashley @ Good Taste. Healthy Me January 20, 2010, 5:16 pm

    Gah I’m such a terrible swimmer! I plug my nose and shut my eyes. As you can see legit swimming is hard for me!

  • Chloe @ Project Live Well January 20, 2010, 5:20 pm

    Your posts have been super useful Ryan – can’t wait to get in the pool now and try out the advice.



  • Catherine January 20, 2010, 5:22 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve been swimming to rehab my knee and always feel like I’m exerting myself more than I need to. I’ll definitely try these out next time!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing January 20, 2010, 6:04 pm

    Good tips!!! After both of these posts, I know a lot of what i’ve been doing wrong all of these years :/

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) January 20, 2010, 6:18 pm

    i love these tips 🙂 my knee’s been acting up a lot lately, and during the summer i know i’ll be trying to swim more for cardio. this will help a TON! 🙂

  • Ryan @ Greens for Good January 20, 2010, 6:24 pm

    Just a tip – If you’re wanting to refer to my tips during your swim, print them out and place them in a zip-lock bag so you can have them poolside. I do this when referring to the sets and distances I’ve designated for pool workouts.

  • Steph @ My Life In Motion January 20, 2010, 6:35 pm

    Thanks for the tips Ryan! I would love to see these put in action on a video.I think it would help to visualize what you’re saying. 🙂

    • Ryan @ Greens for Good January 20, 2010, 7:00 pm

      Caitlin and I were talking about that yesterday! Maybe we can come up with something…

  • Meredith January 20, 2010, 7:38 pm

    Caitlin, I just made your savory bean and cheese oatmeal for dinner… so delicious!! Thank you for the idea and recipe. I’ll definitely be making that again.

    • Caitlin January 20, 2010, 7:48 pm

      aww im glad you liked it! 🙂

  • Danielle (Coffee Run) January 20, 2010, 7:57 pm

    I haven’t swam in so long! Your blog has inspired me to want to do a triathalon in the future. So I better start swimming again!

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) January 20, 2010, 10:43 pm

    I can’t wait to start swimming – I have asked my hubby to take me to the pool ASAP so he can train me 🙂

  • Ellen Collis January 21, 2010, 8:50 am

    I was a competitive swimmer growing up as well, so I would kick butt in this portion of a triathalon (well, I wouldn’t drown!). So many people tell me that swimming is their weakest leg of the race, which always surprises me. I’ve never done a triathalon, but for some reason the biking freaks me out! I’d totally be the girl crashing into everyone! And what happens if you get a flat tire??


    • Caitlin January 21, 2010, 8:51 am

      you change it and lose like 10 minutes 🙁

  • Tara January 21, 2010, 11:34 am

    Thank you for all these swimming posts! I completed my first sprint triathlon last summer and am planning to do more this coming summer. Although I’ve improved since the beginning, I’m always looking for more swim tips!!

    Will these posts be in a special section of your blog so we can refer to them again?

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