Two factors combine for swimming speed; they are distance per stroke and tempo (often referred to as stroke rate or turnover). When considering how to swim faster we sometimes focus on one at the expense of the other.
If you have very low stroke counts and therefore excellent stroke efficiency are you better off than the swimmer next to you who resembles a high speed turbine? Well, maybe not. If your stroke count is low because you glide a lot at the beginning of your stroke you may not be grabbing hold of the water very well. You may look pretty but you may not be very efficient in that your mechanics are not helping you propel yourself efficiently.
Conversely, if you move your arms (and legs) very fast but are not grabbing much water your high tempo is only that – a high tempo. Fast tempo in and of itself is no guarantee for speed. If you aren’t efficient, that is holding onto lots of water, it really doesn’t matter how fast you move your arms.
So, in your opinion, which is more important, distance per stroke or tempo? For a quick lesson Google “Nathan Adrian 50 Free”. We hope you have a great week at the pool!