Holding off swimming fatigue

Woman tired swimming. Learn how to hold off swimming fatigue.

No matter how dedicated your swimming lifestyle, there comes a point in a person’s swim when fatigue hits. The limbs feel heavier, breathing is that little bit harder and technique becomes more difficult to maintain.

Whether it happens after 10 lengths or 50 lengths, there are steps you can take to postpone that fatigue factor.

Try these three top tips for holding off swimming fatigue from our experts at the ASA, and learn to minimise tiredness on a long distance swim.


A good way to hold off swimming fatigue is to change your stroke throughout your session. While there is some overlap, you use a number of different muscles with each stroke, particularly in the kick.

Backstroke is particularly good for catching your breath and steadying your breathing because your face and to some degree your chest are out of the water.

Don’t change your strokes too much because that can be counterproductive. Just rotate once you feel your technique dropping for one stroke.
Arms and Legs

Switching effort

As well as introducing a bit of variety in terms of your stroke, you can also switch between effort in your arms and your legs.

When you’re starting to feel tired, it can be easy to drift into focusing on your arms in front crawl as this is where you generate the most strength in the water.

Instead, ease your arms off and concentrate on generating some momentum from your kick for a couple of lengths, allowing your arms time to relax.
Let the stroke do the work

Minimise energy use

Minimise how much energy you’re using by holding your glide as long as you can. As well as being a more efficient technique, this is a good way to establish some rhythm and control in your swimming.

Count your strokes per length early on in your swim and then aim to go lower than usual as you’re starting to feel tired.


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