Swimming Mistakes: Tips For Beginners Who Just Started Swimming

Hey, I'm Dan. I've been sharing swimming tips for beginners for more than 10 years, and I am excited to share some common mistakes a new swimmer makes at the pool.
Danila Novikov
Hey, I'm Dan, an All-American swimmer and founder of NYC based swim school.
In this blog post, you'll learn:

  1. Why do you sink

  2. Swimming stroke technique tips

  3. How to breathe while swimming

  4. And more

If you want to improve your swimming technique and swim faster, this article is for you.

Let's dive in!


    swimming tips for beginners

    Not being consistent!

    It doesn't matter if you show up in the pool once or four times per week! The most important advice I give my beginner swimmer clients is: BE CONSISTENT AND PATIENT!

    If something doesn't work right away, keep going. Try it again the next time you get to the pool. How long did it take you to get proficient in your specific field? I'll take an educated guess and say that it didn't happen overnight.
    beginner swimming tips

    Restore your energy levels!

    Make sure to give your body enough recovery time between the swims and try to take a day or two between sessions. Pay attention to your body.

    If you feel exhausted, rest more before returning to the pool.
    swimmers tips for beginners

    Don't lift before swimming.

    Try to avoid lifting weights a day or two before swimming.

    Lifting makes your muscles tighter. Tightness might affect your swimming technique. It will be much harder to relax, and you will have fewer muscles and joint mobility.

    Give yourself anywhere between 24 and 48 hours between lifting sessions and swimming.
    stroke tips for beginner swimmer

    Warm up before swimming fast!

    Every swimming session should start with a warm-up: low-pulse, low-intensity swimming. You don't start your workout in a gym with the heaviest weight right away, right? You are slowly preparing your muscles for a heavy load. You should do it the same way in the pool.
    swim freestyle

    Rotate swimming strokes.

    Keep switching your swimming strokes. Focus on multiple strokes; it might get boring doing freestyle all the time. Imagine eating your favorite food every day. How long will it take until you wouldn't want to see it anymore?

    Focus on swimming different strokes as each and every stroke works different muscle groups, and helps you to become an overall well-rounded swimmer.
    swimming laps tips

    Focus on your swimming technique first!

    We want to see results as quickly as possible. Try to focus on long-term goals instead!

    Beginner swimmers should be focused on technique first and foremost!

    Take your time with drills and technical aspects of the swimming strokes. Tackling challenging swimming sets shouldn't be your priority as a beginner.

    Kicking technique mistakes: why do my legs sink?

    Avoid these mistakes when learning how to kick.

    Kicking too deep.

    Avoid kicking too deep under the surface. The deeper you move your legs, the more the water resistance is and the harder it is to maintain effortless rhythmical kicks.

    Kick closer to the surface; it's easier and more efficient.
    kicking mistakes in swimming

    Kicking too high.

    You will surely surprise those who swim nearby since it will make a lot of splashes and loud banging sounds.

    Unfortunately, it would only create a little propulsion and consume much of your energy.

    Let your toes and hills break the surface while kicking for the optimal result.
    kicking mistakes in swimming

    Initiating kick from the knee.

    This is one of the most common mistakes we make while learning to flutter kick. Initiating your kicks from the knee increases the risk of sinking with your lower body.

    When you kick from the knee, you only use the lower portion of your leg to move the water instead of engaging the entire leg.

    This body position can cause your hips to drop and pull the rest of your body underwater.
    relax upper body

    Keeping muscles and joints too tight.

    Tight muscles and joints affect your mobility in the water. Try to flex your muscles and make a smooth, sleek dance move. Not too smooth, right?

    Instead of trying to fight with the water, relax and cooperate to move forward effortlessly.
    deep water tips

    Pointing toes down (makes you move backward).

    Pointing your toes down will make your ankles tight. Tight ankles might result in sinking or pushing your body back instead of moving forward.

    A relaxed ankle will let you move the water up and down, providing effortless propulsion.
    safety tips swim

    Kicking with a kickboard.

    Absolutely nothing wrong with the kickboard, but some beginner swimmers find it hard to propel forward effectively while using it. If you have trouble moving forward when using a kickboard, consider removing it.

    When you hold the kickboard, you rely on it to help you stay afloat, which makes your muscles tight and doesn't help you move forward.

    Ditch the kickboard and relax your entire body while producing propulsion with your legs.
    front crawl tips

    Moving your legs any other way than up or down.

    Make sure you are only moving your legs in 2 directions. Up and down. The propulsion created with these simple moves your body forward. Most likely, you are kicking this way because you are trying to balance yourself in the water.

    Use your abdominal muscles to balance instead. If you are kicking west, east, or northeast, you risk losing your balance and failing to move straight forward in the water.
    open water swimming tips

    Keeping the legs attached.

    Keeping your legs attached will make your muscles tight and affect your legs' mobility in the water.

    The next time you walk, try to keep your legs attached and see if it's a comfortable posture. You would only find it comfy if you're Charlie Chaplin himself.

    The same rules apply in the water, so why make your life harder?
    freestyle stroke

    Kicking too fast.

    It isn't mainly a mistake but a helpful tip from me. Sometimes, less is more. And that is the case. Fast kicking will drain the gas out of your tank rapidly.

    Slow down your kicks and preserve the energy unless you are trying to race someone or swim away from a hungry shark.
    how to kick in swimming


    Sometimes, the way you move your legs is not the reason why you can't kick effectively. If you position yourself incorrectly in the water, you can't get your legs up and kick effectively.

    Beginner floating mistakes: avoid those at all cost.

    how to float in water

    Starting your float too high above the surface.

    If you begin your float with your chest and shoulders staying too out of the water, you will be affected by the gravity force. You might fall beneath the surface.

    Snorting and swallowing the water is not pleasant. Make sure you start your float with your entire body submerged in the water.

    Exhaling instead of inhaling right before you start your float.

    Pay attention if you are filling your lungs with air or letting it go out. Keeping more air inside your lungs will make your body more buoyant.
    deep breaths

    Floating with any part of your body staying above the surface.

    Whether you are keeping your head above the surface or letting your hands come out of the water, you are not helping yourself to be more buoyant.

    You will eventually sink if you are not keeping your entire body submerged inside the water.
    feel comfortable swimming

    Floating with your muscles and joints locked.

    The tenser you are, the harder it is to float. Expect less mobility and balance as well.

    Try to relax your body and float closer to the surface. Yes, I know. It's easy to say; Relax!

    But the more time you spend in the water, the calmer you are. Just give yourself some time.
    swim tips for any fitness level

    Poor body alignment.

    Not keeping your body aligned while swimming. Suppose your shoulders stick out of the water while your stomach stays a couple of feet beneath the surface. Then you should expect yourself to sink unless you can align your body.

    Allow your legs, torso, arms, and legs to stay on the same level. Call it the streamlined body position.
    swimming with less energy spend

    Over-bending your legs.

    Bending your knees and pointing your toes up. It will affect your position in the water.

    Your lower body will sink, eventually dragging the rest of your body under the water. Having your legs extended will bring your heeps higher.

    Releasing the tension off your ankles should help you to keep your legs aligned with the rest of the body and kick effectively.
    perfect swimmer kick

    Holding your breath while floating.

    Holding your breath while floating on your back. Don't make your life more complicated than it already is. Breathe. You have access to all of the air in the world.

    Breathing will help you to swim longer and stay closer to the surface.
    deep breath

    Breathing through your nose.

    Breathing in with your nose while floating on your back. It's not a fatal mistake, but you better get used to breathing in with your mouth because...

    A. Water will less likely get inside your nose and burn it while you breathe with your mouth.

    B. You breathe deeper when you inhale with your mouth.

    Now I want to hear from you!

    What are you struggling with in the pool?

    What swimming tips you found the most helpful?

    Let me know in the comments down below!