Five Steps for Getting Back in the Swim of Things

By Crystal Garland, Aquatics Director


The renewed enthusiasm to get back to the water has been powerful. I for one have rejoiced every time I have jumped into the water and I am truly thankful each and every day. Getting back into swim shape will take a while, but with a renewed passion we can all process these five steps to get in the swim of things.

1) Positive thoughts and mental toughness will help get you back to swimming for exercise

Take one day, week and month at a time. Each day you will feel better than the last day. Embrace getting back in the water and working your swim muscles with renewed energy.

2) Build good training habits every time you swim

On your first day back, swim as far as you feel comfortable, stopping as frequently as you want. This will give you a good baseline to work from in future weeks. Eventually, you can increase your training volume, or distance swum, week by week. Big jumps in training volume put you at risk for injury or overtraining, so try not to increase your total yardage by more than 10% a week. Also, make sure to incorporate recovery days and recovery weeks into your comeback plan.

3) Pick one thing to focus on

Try to focus on something different with your stroke each day. If you’re swimming freestyle and typically breath every stroke, now is the time to learn to breathe every three strokes. If you are working on your flip turns, make your goal to have your strong underwater kick to the flags each time. Now is the time to add stroke work, mixing up different strokes such as backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly to help you perform better in existing strokes. For example, the balance skills you learn for the freestyle or front crawl are also needed for backstroke. The body undulation needed for the butterfly stroke can help improve a swimmer’s breaststroke.

4) Track your progress

Set a goal to accomplish certain yardage or sets. Within the sets, change your tempo. Slow and steady to fast and strong. Even if you are not a competitive swimmer, sprint training mixes up your routine, keeping you engaged and energized. Endless laps lead to muscle fatigue, so adding in sprint sets can help you physically and mentally. Swimming sprints at your race pace, or best effort, gets you accustomed to the feel of moving fast in the water. When you practice swimming faster, you train your body and mind to swim at a quicker pace when you are not sprinting.

5) Have FUN

At Club Greenwood we are lucky to have two beautiful 25 meter eight lanes indoor and six lanes outdoor pools and amazing swimming community. This past month, I have seen the joy in those who are back to doing what they love, swimming. Smile after swimming and take pride in doing an exercise that is good for your mind, body and soul.

Congratulations! No matter where you are in your progress, it is important to celebrate all victories – large and small.


Crystal Garland aquatics managerCrystal Garland

Crystal has been at Club Greenwood since 2006 and currently teaches lessons, water fitness and is and USA Certified Coach. Crystal is certified in the SwimAmerica program and is best known for improving young and adult people’s stroke’s and making them feel comfortable in the water. Crystal competed locally in Age group club swimming, College swimming at Iowa State University and still loves to compete with Masters swimming at Club Greenwood. Swimming is clearly a family affair as husband, Bob, and all three of her sons also swim!

Contact Crystal: CrystalG@ClubGreenwood.com

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