It happens to so many swimmers, and there’s a chance it’s happened to you: you swam competitively in high school or college, or you even just picked up swimming as an adult. You pushed your body to swim faster, got stronger, and won races. You used to be so consistent with your swimming!

Then something stopped you from getting in the water every day. You got bored, injured, busy or maybe you weren’t able to train with a team. Now you can’t imagine how you used to swim so much.

If it’s been a while since you’ve completed a good swim workout, here’s your guide to get back in the water. Be sure to download the MySwimPro app for more tips, training plans and support to help you get back in shape!

Related: Former Competitive Swimmer Lost 75lbs Training with MySwimPro 

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IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS

Before you head back to the pool, keep these things in mind:

  • Check your expectations: Be realistic with what you can accomplish on day one, especially if you took a break for more than a month. Your endurance and pace won’t be the same, and that’s ok!
  • Take a long term approach: It will take a few weeks or months to get back in shape.
  • Be smart with goal setting: Set SMART goals to keep yourself accountable and focused. More on this later!
  • Find the right community: Swimming alone can be challenging, so it’s important that you find a group of like minded people to support you. Check out the MySwimPro Global Community Facebook group to meet swimmers from all over the world!
  • Adjust your mindset and environment: Stay positive throughout your comeback journey! A positive mind plays a huge role in swimming success.

1. GET YOUR FEET WET

“Do or do not, there is no try.”

If you want to get back into swimming, we can promise you that you’ll feel excited to train again after your first swim back. The hardest step is often the first step. Once you get to the pool, you’ll feel energized!

Head to the pool and get a short 10-20 minute swim in. Get used to being back in the water and stretch it out. You can’t expect to be as fast as you used to be, so take things slow and try a couple easy sets. Don’t put any pressure on yourself for this first swim.

Related: How I Made My Swimming Comeback with MySwimPro

Once you’re comfortable, ramp up your training with a swim workout from the MySwimPro app. Pick a workout on your phone or smartwatch, watch the technique drill videos, and head to the pool. No more worrying about writing your own swim sets!

Related: 7 Benefits of Keeping a Swim Log

2. SET SMART GOALS

Related: How To Set SMART Goals

Set a goal so you have something to work toward. Whether that’s a race, a distance goal or a weight loss goal. SMART goals are:

  • Specific: What are you going to do?
  • Measurable: How much are you going to swim?
  • Achievable: You know you can do it.
  • Relevant: It’s relevant to you and what you want to achieve
  • Time-Bound: When are you going to swim?

An established goal will bring that old fire back and help you focus on getting your workouts in.

If you’re not into competing, set a simple goal that’s attainable. Some examples:

  • Swim 3x a week
  • Complete 6x100s on the 1:20
  • Lose 10 pounds
  • Drop 2 seconds in your 100 breaststroke
  • Swim 4,000 meters a week

3.  FOLLOW A TRAINING PLAN

Swimming on your own can be pretty challenging. Even if you’re intrinsically motivated, doing the same workouts over and over will make you plateau and eventually start to regress in your swimming ability. Following a structured training plan significantly increases your likelihood of success for your SMART goals, and reduces the stress you may feel if you usually write your own workouts.

Whether you’re trying to improve your stroke technique, swim faster, or increase your endurance, there’s one common, critical component: consistency. If you ask any coach, they’ll tell you that the most important thing you can do to get faster is to be consistent with your training. An odd workout here and there isn’t enough to produce real swimming results, and will only get you so far.

Below are a few of MySwimPro’s top training plans to help you reach your goals with swimming. Trust our team of experienced coaches to help you succeed!

Swimming Plans

Dryland Plans

If you’re unsure which plan is best for you, we’re here to help! ELITE COACH subscribers get access to 1-on-1 coaching calls with the MySwimPro team. We’ll talk through your goals, skill level and will help you create a training regimen that works best for you.

Related: Get Started: Remote 1-on-1 Swim Coaching

4. INCREASE VOLUME & FREQUENCY

As you regain your feel for the water, you’ll likely want to start swimming longer workouts. We recommend increasing your workout volume by no more than 10-20% each week. This setup can help reduce the likelihood that you get injured from doing too much too quickly.

To really get back into the rhythm of things, you’ll need to swim 2-3 times per week. It’s hard to progress if you’re only swimming once a week, and you’ll lose your feel of the water. Here’s an example of a progressive increase in training volume:

  • Week 1: 2,000 meters
  • Week 2: 2,400 meters
  • Week 3: 3,000 meters
  • Week 4: 3,600 meters
  • Week 5: 4,000 meters
  • Week 6: 5,000 meters

If you’re crunched for time, it’s better to do four 30-minute swim workouts per week than two 1-hour swim workouts.

As much as you might dread swimming, you have to put the work in, in order to feel like the swimmer you once were. You’ll be surprised how quickly it all comes back to you!

A former collegiate swimmer, Patty Deters can attest to how quickly the love for the water comes back. She used MySwimPro to lose 75lbs, find her confidence and manage chronic illness. Watch her transformation story!

Related: How to Overcome Swimming Fatigue

5. TRY SOMETHING NEW

You’ll feel more excited to swim if you’re challenging yourself to something new. If you can, find a new pool or body of water to swim in. If you think swimming with a group will help you, find a local Masters swim team or triathlon group in your area. You could even try posting on social media or online forums to organize your own swim group.

Related: Join our Global Facebook Community!

If you can’t do that, switch up your training so it works for you. If you were once a sprinter, try long distance workouts! If you’re a breaststroker, try backstroke! If you got burned out from swimming too early in morning, try evening swims! If you always used fins, try swimming without them!

Or, try a new water sport! Try a triathlon, water polo, diving, or synchronized swimming. Or even an underwater torpedo league! You’ll make new friends and feel more energized learning new skills.

Related: Different Ways to Get Involved in Swimming

Head to the pool and get those feet wet again! If you’re looking for swim workouts, drills, or training plans, start your free 30-day trial of MySwimPro ELITE COACH on your phone or smartwatch.

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5 thoughts on “How to Make a Swimming Comeback in 5 Steps

  1. I want to focus mainly on back stroke and some freestyle. Seems like you emphasize IM or freestyle. Do I just take the freestyle programs and do backstroke?

  2. I started swimming again after retiring from college swimming in 1992. I got back in briefly in 2005 or so but training with a team wasn’t possible. So got out of it again.

    Now I am swimming with a Masters group twice a week and swimming an additional 1 to 2 times a week on my own using the MySwimPro app.

    At first, I never thought I was going to get back into any type of form but after a few weeks, the feel started to come back. Now training anywhere between 2800 and 3500 meters for about an hour or so.

    My main challenges now are my shoulders still tighten up and I get cramps in my calfs. I know it’s going to get better. Just keep it going!

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