I have been training for triathlons for over a decade and swimming for much longer. SWOLF is an incredible metric for swimmers that I use regularly. If you haven’t read it check our complete guide to SWOLF and why you should be using it. If you are a Critical Swim Speed advocate open your mind to SWOLF for more swimming gains. Our goal continues to be helping you go faster so this post is our 15 best ways to improve your SWOLF score.

Average SWOLF score

Is Higher or Lower SWOLF score better?

Improving your SWOLF score in swimming is mainly an efficiency goal. More efficiency through the water translating into speed. Your SWOLF score combines your stroke count and the time it takes to complete a lap or a certain distance. The goal is to reduce your SWOLF score. So, lower SWOLF score is better. A lower SWOLF means you’re covering the same distance with fewer strokes and in less time.

Swimming stroke efficiency

15 ways to help you improve your SWOLF score

  1. Stroke Technique: Focus on perfecting your stroke technique. A smoother, more efficient stroke will reduce your SWOLF score.
  2. Streamline: Work on your streamline position after pushing off the wall or diving. A good streamline reduces resistance.
  3. Breathing: Minimize the number of breaths you take while swimming. Controlled and rhythmic breathing can help improve your efficiency.
  4. Distance per Stroke: Try to cover more distance with each stroke. Longer and more powerful strokes will reduce your stroke count.
  5. Kick Technique: Improve your kick technique. Strong legs can help propel you forward with fewer strokes.
  6. Interval Training: Incorporate interval training into your workouts to increase your speed and endurance.
  7. Strength Training: Strengthen your core and upper body muscles to improve your stroke power and efficiency.
  8. Flexibility: Work on your flexibility to achieve a more streamlined body position in the water.
  9. Tumble Turns: Master the art of tumble turns to maintain your speed and reduce the time taken to turn at the wall.
  10. Pacing: Learn to pace yourself properly, so you can maintain a consistent speed throughout the swim.
  11. Underwater Dolphin Kick: Work on your underwater dolphin kick to maximize your speed off the walls.
  12. Video Analysis: Record your swims and analyze them to identify areas for improvement in your technique.
  13. Practice Drills: Incorporate stroke-specific drills into your training to isolate and improve specific aspects of your stroke.
  14. Hydration and Nutrition: Properly hydrate and fuel your body before and after workouts to maintain energy levels and recovery.
  15. Rest and Recovery: Give your body adequate time to recover between intense training sessions to prevent overtraining and optimize performance.

How long does it take to improve your SWOLF score?

Remember that improvement takes time, so be patient and consistent in your training. That said depending on how good your swim technique is now you may be able to see quick improvements in SWOLF. Swimmers with very poor quality technique that make improvements will see much quicker changes. I’ve been working on my SWOLF score for over a decade now hovering around a 38. Looking to get nearer to 35 every year. To really see gains it’s a good idea to work with a coach to help you identify areas where you can make the most significant gains in your SWOLF score.


Instant ways to swim faster

One of the most instant ways I have seen people improve swimming is from using buoyancy swim shorts. Replacing swim jammers or even worse board shorts with buoyancy shorts gives instant gains. Buoyancy shorts help give you more lift in your core and correct dragging feet. Read our post on how buoyancy shorts help improve your swim speed.


If you interested in our content check out our sister site dedicated to cycling with a wealth of insight to indulge in!

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Categories: Swimming

Billy Ferguson

Having founded Trivelo in 2015 after many years competing in triathlon Billy continues to enjoy training and triathlon. Founder Billy is strongest in the water but continues to try and convince his body that he is an ultra runner.