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Top Swim Hacks to Enhance Your Performance for Kids and Adults

A group of swimmers in a competition pool are actively swimming laps. The lanes are separated by black lane dividers, and there is a crowd of people watching and waiting near the poolside. Some spectators are seated on bleachers in the background.

Are you ready to fine-tune your swim routine with simple yet effective hacks? Whether you’re battling with gear clutter, struggling with recovery, or seeking to shave seconds off your time, we’ve got the insights you need. This article cuts through the fluff, bringing you direct, actionable swim hacks that make a noticeable difference. We're going to share helpful tips that are perfect even if you are just learning to swim or are like an experienced swimmer. 

Key Takeaways 

  • Organizing your swim bag with essentials like a towel, light suction goggles, and waterproof compartments makes for a hassle-free swim experience. 
  • Proper pre-swim nutrition can boost your energy and performance, so fuel up with snacks like bananas with peanut butter or a smoothie, and hydrate well. 
  • Maintenance matters for both your body and gear! Post-swim, protect skin with moisturizing cream, ears from infection, and keep your swimwear away from machine washing or direct sunlight. 

Streamline Your Swim Bag Essentials 

Swim bag essentials

Swimmers often find a well-organized swim bag to be their secret weapon. It keeps all your essentials at your fingertips, saving you time and hassle. Here are some tips for choosing the perfect swim bag: 

  • Choose a lightweight fabric bag with various pockets 
  • Look for a waterproof section for wet gear. This way, you can easily locate your gear and keep your wet items separated. 

Next up, goggles and swim cap - a swimmer’s best friend. However, one must note that all goggles are not made the same. Light suction goggles are excellent in preventing water leakage. Also, maintaining the anti-fog layer by washing in lukewarm water can enhance your visibility in the pool. For those aiming to swim faster, low profile racing goggles are your go-to. They create less protrusion, reducing drag and enhancing speed and performance. 

But what about your towel? Microfiber towels come highly recommended. They’re: 

  • compact 
  • quick drying 
  • lightweight 
  • distinctive 
  • soft 
  • absorbent 

So, make sure to pack one in your swim bag. By effectively organizing your swim bag essentials in this manner, you’ll always be prepared for the pool. 

Quick Fixes for Common Swim Struggles 

Common swim struggles are not unfamiliar even to seasoned swimmers. For instance, swimmer’s ear, (medically known as otitis externa), occurs when water stays in the ear canal for too long, creating a moist environment that fosters bacterial growth. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have swimmer’s ear: 

  • Ear pain when touching the outer ear 
  • Itchiness 
  • Fluid discharge 
  • Signs of redness or swelling 

For prevention and treatment of ear infection, it’s advisable to consult healthcare providers before using ear-drying drops or if you experience any ear pain or drainage. 

Staying warm at the pool is another common struggle. A simple solution is to use a folding travel hairdryer to blow out the dampness in your hair, providing warmth. Wearing a wetsuit can also trap a thin layer of water between the suit and your skin, preserving your body heat. These quick fixes can make your swim sessions more comfortable and enjoyable. 

Mastering Efficient Warm-Ups 

Efficient warm-ups are vital before you dive into the water. An easy swim earlier in the day helps experienced swimmers stretch out and acquire a feel for the water, especially for those practicing freestyle and butterfly events. Event-specific warm-up routines, including swimming at a race pace, can elevate your heart rate and condition your body, maximizing your performance. 

It’s also essential to engage in dynamic stretching on deck before you enter the water. Arm swings and hamstring stretches prime your joints and prevent injuries. They also help release lactic acid build-up, preventing the start of a swim with cold muscles. Incorporating an arm stroke stretch can further enhance your swim preparation. 

Finally, the importance of mental preparation should not be overlooked. Visualizing the entire race process is a key aspect of efficient warm-up routines, especially for the freestyle stroke and butterfly stroke. 

Speed Secrets: Swim Faster with Less Effort 

For those aiming to swim faster with minimal effort, we have some potent speed secrets! Here are some tips to help you swim faster: 

  • Maintain a straight body alignment to create less frontal drag, which is crucial for maintaining speed. 
  • Keep your elbow up during the pulling motion to align it with body motion and reduce frontal drag. 
  • Keep your head down, particularly at the stroke’s fastest point, to ensure minimal resistance and proper alignment. 

By following these swimming hacks, you can improve your swimming speed with minimal effort. 

Using a tight streamline position off the starting block and during turns significantly reduces drag due to high speeds. Some tips to reduce drag include: 

  • A compact kick with minimal knee bend in freestyle and backstroke 
  • Keeping knees at or inside the hips in breaststroke 
  • Pointed toes during starts, turns, and stroke movements 

These techniques are essential for reducing frontal drag. 

With these life hacks, you’ll notice your speed increase without having to exert extra effort. 

Breathing Basics for Better Performance 

A significant enhancement in your performance can be achieved by mastering the basics of breathing. Here are some tips to help you improve your breathing technique while swimming freestyle: 

  1. Adopt a rhythmic breathing pattern to prevent hyperventilation and maintain a steady oxygen supply. 
  1. Incorporate bilateral breathing, or breathing to both sides, to promote better balance and alignment in the water. 
  1. Breathe on both sides in an alternating manner to maintain symmetrical and balanced strokes. 

By practicing these techniques, you can improve your breathing and overall performance in shallow water. 

Exhaling gently through the nose when your face is in the water can help conserve energy and improve breath control. Adopting the Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique encourages more efficient lung filling and teaches control over breathing, beneficial both in and out of water. Keep in mind that the frequency of breaths during swimming depends on factors such as the stroke being used, your speed, and the distance of the swim. Forceful exhalation is necessary to release the buildup of CO2, which, if not expelled, can lead to feelings of breathlessness. Be sure to check out our post about tips to improve your swim technique. 

Pre-Swim Nutrition That Fuels Your Stroke 

The importance of properly fueling your body before a swim is equivalent to the swim itself. Even a small pre-swim snack, around 100 calories, can help sustain your energy levels and prevent fatigue caused by low blood sugar levels. Bananas are a practical pre-swim snack as they provide about 30 grams of carbohydrates and potassium, and they can be combined with peanut butter for added protein. 

Complex carbohydrates are critical for sustained energy in the pool. Bagels, rich in these nutrients, are an excellent choice. Try combining a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter for an effective pre-swim meal offering both carbohydrates for energy and protein for muscle support. 

Fruit smoothies provide easily digestible carbohydrates along with essential calcium and vitamin C. Energy gels are a portable option that can help maintain swimming speed and reduce muscle fatigue due to their content of carbohydrates and protein. 

Remember to pack a water bottle in your swim kit for hydration, and make sure to consume a post-swim snack to restore energy after the session. 

Post-Swim Recovery Rituals 

To maintain your swimming performance, post-swim recovery is of utmost importance. Using a moisturizing shower cream and a good shampoo after swimming can protect your skin and hair from chlorine damage. Thoroughly drying your ears after swimming, using appropriate techniques like tilting your head and pulling the earlobe, can prevent infections. 

Adequate rest, with 8-10 hours of sleep, is vital for your body’s recovery after swimming. Incorporating light yoga or an easy swim on active recovery days can help your muscles recuperate faster. Compression gear can enhance blood circulation and reduce muscle soreness post-swim. Adjusting training intensity and duration can prevent burnout and support the recovery process. 

Gear Maintenance Made Easy 

For the longevity of your swimming gear, its maintenance is critical. Here are some tips to follow: 

  1. After use, rinse your swimwear in cold water. This helps maintain fabric elasticity and prevents color fading. 
  1. After rinsing, gently squeeze out excess water from your swimwear. 
  1. Lay it flat to dry to extend the life of the gear. 

Here are some tips for taking care of your swimming gear: 

  1. Rinse all your swimming gear with fresh water after each use and allow items to air dry completely before storage. 
  1. Avoid machine washing or drying swimwear to preserve the quality of the fabric. 
  1. Store your swim gear in a place away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures to prevent damage. 

Creative Solutions for Swim Lesson for Children 

At times, swim lessons for children can pose a challenge. But, with a bit of creativity, these challenges can turn into fun learning experiences. Imaginative play not only makes swim lessons fun but also enhances skill acquisition for children. Games like ‘Red Light, Green Light’ and ‘Superhero Glides’ engage kids in playful scenarios that develop kicking and streamlining. 

‘Talk To the Fish’ and ‘Blow Out the Candle’ are fun ways for kids to practice breath control through bubble blowing. The ‘Ice Cream Scooping’ game helps children practice arm movements required for different swimming strokes. Creating a comfortable and safe environment in the water is crucial for effective swim learning and reducing fear. 

Children learn important water safety skills through various activities, including: 

  • The ‘Starfish/Pancake Flip’ technique, which helps them learn to float and roll over in the water, building confidence and safety awareness. 
  • The ‘Ring/Coin Toss’ game, which encourages kids to dive and retrieve items, teaching decision-making and diving techniques. 
  • ‘Chop, Chop Timber,’ a fun activity that helps children get comfortable with jumping into the pool, an essential skill for water safety. 

Turn Downtime into Productive Time 

The downtime during swim lessons and meets can be leveraged as productive moments. Swimmers can use waiting periods to bring planners or notebooks to outline their upcoming weekly meals and tasks in just a few moments. 

Planning meals and organizing to-do lists during idle times can streamline swimmers’ schedules, leading to better time management and reduced stress. 


In conclusion, enhancing your swimming performance doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By employing a few swimming hacks, you can streamline your swim bag essentials, tackle common swim struggles, master efficient warm-ups, and improve your speed. Even if you're a beginner, it's never too late to learn how to swim or to take your skills to the next level. Remember to take care of your breathing and nutrition, prioritize recovery, maintain your gear, make swim lessons fun for children, and use downtime productively. Happy swimming! 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What should I pack in my swim bag? 

Make sure to pack a lightweight fabric bag with pockets, goggles that have light suction, and a microfiber towel for your swim bag. These items will cover your basic needs at the pool. 

How can I prevent swimmer's ear? 

Make sure to dry your ears thoroughly after swimming by tilting your head and pulling the earlobe to prevent swimmer's ear. 

What should I eat before a swim? 

You should eat a small pre-swim snack like bananas, bagels, or fruit smoothies to sustain your energy levels. These can be great options before hitting the pool. 

What should I do after a swim? 

After a swim, it's important to use a moisturizing shower cream and a good shampoo, dry your ears thoroughly, get adequate rest, and consider incorporating light yoga or an easy swim on recovery days. Compression gear can also be helpful. Take care! 

How can I make swim lessons fun for children? 

Make swim lessons fun for children by incorporating imaginative play and games that help develop essential skills. This will keep them engaged and entertained while learning, ensuring a positive experience.