While swimming isn’t always all about speed, everyone can benefit from getting a little faster and more powerful in the water.

Swimming faster allows you to fit more sets into your usual swimming time frame. And if you race, swimming faster means lots of new personal records!

To get faster and more powerful, you can’t just swim endless laps — you have to train effectively and challenge yourself! Keep reading for 4 of our favorite workouts to enhance your swimming speed and power.

But first, a little more on speed, power and strength.

Strength vs. Speed vs. Power

If you want to increase your power in the water, you have to work on strength and speed. In a nutshell:

Strength + Speed = Power

  • Strength The amount of force you can exert per unit area (Measured in Newtons per square meter: (N/m²). Example: When you exert more force in your pull, you have a stronger pull.
  • Speed: Time spent accomplishing something (seconds). Example: How long it takes you to swim 50 meters. 
  • Power: The ability to exert as much force as possible (strength) in the shortest amount of time (speed). (Measured in Watts)

Ideally, you’ll find a balance between strength and speed so you can be as powerful as possible in the water. Power output will be different for everyone. Two swimmers may have the same strength in their pull, but if one swimmer has faster arm turnover, their power output will be higher.

Try These Swim Workouts

Depending on your skill level, these workouts may be perfect, or you may need to add additional warm up and cool down, or do multiple rounds. Adjust as needed, and make sure to log your Workout in the MySwimPro app!

1. Technique (700m)

This workout is intended to help you improve your distance per stroke, which will enhance your stroke efficiency. An efficient stroke = a strong stroke. As the workout progresses, we’ll start adding some speed work to work on maintaining good technique at higher speeds.

  • 4 x 25 Freestyle (Silent Swimming)
  • 4 x 50 Freestyle (Negative Split Strokes*)
  • 1 x 100 Freestyle (Strong breakout on each 25)
  • 1 x 100 Freestyle (Build each 25)
  • 3 x 50 Freestyle (Descend 1-3 to 98%)
  • 1 x 50 Freestyle (Silent Swimming)

*Negative Split Strokes = Take fewer strokes on the 2nd 25 than you did on the 1st 25!

2. Recovery Day (700m)

When you’re working on speed, you’re going to break down. Recovery days are a must in your training, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on speed and power on lighter days too! This workout is intended to keep you moving toward your speed goals without overdoing it. 

  • 5-10 min Dynamic Stretching
  • 4 x 50 Freestyle/Backstroke (Alternate by 25)
  • 1 x 200 Freestyle (50 Strong, 50 Easy)
  • 4 x 50 Freestyle/Backstroke (Alternate by 25)
  • 1 x 100 Freestyle (Silent Swimming)
  • 5-10 min Static Stretching

3. Strength & Power (800m)

This workout incorporates a parachute to increase resistance and challenge your strength and power.

4 x 25 Freestyle (Silent Swimming)

3x the following:

  • 2 x 25 Freestyle with a parachute (1 Strength Focus, 1 Power Focus)
  • 3 x 50 Freestyle
    • 1: Strong Breakout/Easy by 25
    • 2: Strong 2nd 25
    • 3: Swim Easy/Fast by 25
  • 4 x 25 Freestyle (Silent Swimming)

4. Speed (USRPT, 700m)

During this workout, strive to hit your goal 100 pace for every single one of the 16 25s. If you miss one, sit the next one out and try again. Learn more about Ultra-Short Race Pace Training >

  • 4 x 25 Freestyle (Silent Swimming)
  • 1 x 50 Freestyle @ 200 Pace
  • 1 x 50 Freestyle Easy
  • 16 x 25 Freestyle @ :30 @ 100 Pace
  • 4 x 25 Freestyle (Silent Swimming)

Share your favorite workouts to build speed and power in the comments! For more Swim Workouts, download the MySwimPro app — try our ELITE subscription free for 30 days to unlock personalized Training Plans, technique videos and coaching. Check out our Enhance Speed and USRPT Training Plans for more Workouts like the ones shown here.