Top Menu

How to Improve my 50m Freestyle Time?


Hi Gary,

I am just asking if just say I am already 17yrs old and I am doing a 27.5 for 50m freestyle long course. Is it possible for me to do a 25 sec next year. Just let me know if I’m raising false hopes.




Hi Brandon,

The easy answer is yes.  A drop of 2 seconds over 50 metres freestyle is very possible for a 17 year boy.  Your body will be continuing to grow and your increased strength and power will assist you to swim faster than you ever have before.

You will need to work with your coach to ensure your training program gives you the best opportunity

Your ability to improve will depend on continually improving your technique, the continued development of upper body strength and your ability to transfer any strength gains into the pool when swimming freestyle.

With your training, it is important to continue the development of your aerobic fitness as most sprinters will only take between 1 and 5 breaths in a 50m freestyle.

You also need to work on your upper body strength by doing some pull work.  I have found using a band around my feet and sprinting for 15 to 25 metres as a useful way to improve this.

Train hard and let me know how you go.



The Swimming Expert

, , , , ,

52 Responses to How to Improve my 50m Freestyle Time?

  1. Emily August 8, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    Hi I am a 14 soon to be 15 year old sophomore. I have to fastest 50m Freestyle time in my class. I swim a 31.32 but my goal is to get it to at least 29 seconds. I work extremely hard going to every practice and just working my butt off. Ive been told that I tend to dive too deep off of the blocks and flip too early at the wall. I think that is what is making it hard for me to improve my time. How can I fix that? Like anything i can practice that can help me learn to flip closer and not dive so deep?

    Best regards


    • Gary August 22, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

      Hi Emily,
      Yes, practicising these two skills will help you a lot.
      I would also recommend getting someone to video you when you are doing a dive or turn and then have a look at it yourself.
      This will assist you to better understand what you are currently doing.
      As you practice these skills, video yourself again to visually see how much you have improved.

    • Gavvo October 19, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

      I am 15 and my fastest time in a 50 meter short coarse is a 23.41 and the best way to improve your time is to parctice technique and just get really strong

  2. Jagpreet Singh September 6, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    Hi Garry Sir,

    I am 18. My best time in 50m free is 27. I need some tips so that i can clock atleat 25 or below,and I clock 37 in 50m breast stroke,please give me some tips to improve my breast stroke and clock 33 or below. Please help me sir.


    Jagpreet Singh

  3. Gail November 11, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    Hi im 13 and my my most recent time that i got was from a competition a few days a go was 36.61 for 50m freestyle do you think that that is ok for my age
    i am going to train hard and not give up
    do you think it is too late to try to train for the olympics???

    • Gary November 28, 2013 at 8:13 am #

      Hi Gail, Yes, that time is fine for your age.
      If you have goals to swim really fast when you are older, you will need to increase your training and commitment to bring your time down so that eventually you are swimming under 30 seconds.
      Good luck

  4. Tristyn January 20, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

    Hi, I am 14 years old and I am trying to make section cuts in the 50 freestyle. The time I need to make is 26.99 or lower. I am currently at a 27.54 and I was wondering if there ante any tips you have for stroke technique. This is short course

    • Gary January 20, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

      Hi Tristyn,
      The key tips for freestyle technique over 50m is to ensure you are getting a clean catch on the water out in front and really holding onto the water as you pull your body over and past your hand on each stroke. Your hand should be accelerating through the water so that the second half of your pull is faster than the first half. When you do this, make sure you retain a good hold on the water.
      The other keys to improving a 50m 50 freestyle short course is to accelerate in and out of the turn. Your first two strokes out of the turn should be very powerful. A fast start and finish in any race is a given.
      Good luck.
      The Swimming Expert

  5. Sean February 1, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    Hi Garry,
    I am 14 years old and have a time of 30.33 for my 50 freestyle, I need to drop my time quickly to a 29.00 what’s the best way to do that.

    Thanks sean

    • Gary February 1, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

      Hi Sean,
      There are a couple of things you can do Sean.
      Each time you swim, make sure that you are improving something, whether it is your start, finish, underwater butterfly kicks or freestyle swimming.
      A short term focus on improving your dive, including exploding off the blocks, entering the water through one hole, maintaining a totally streamlined position underwater and doing up to 8 very fast dolphin kicks will give you a great start.
      As you feel your body slowing down, you should be about to break the water surface and you should take at least 6 very strong strokes before taking your first breath.
      At your age, you should be able to breath at least every 6 strokes however you will need to practice this in training if you wish to do it in a race.
      Ask your coach to see if there are any improvements you can make to your underwater technique and practice doing no breathing from the flags into the wall at the end of the race.
      Please let me know how you go.
      The Swimming Expert

  6. bob duncan February 9, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

    Im almost 11. My time is 51 sec. I really want to get 33 seconds for my freestyle. I want like a full proof plan ( if possible) . Please hhhhhhhhhhhelp

    • Gary February 9, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

      Hi Bob,
      To drop your time over 18 seconds for 50m will take some time and a commitment from you to do what your coach is asking you to do.
      There is no such thing as a full proof plan in swimming so my advice is to speak to your coach, share with them what your goals are and then work out a plan together to get your 50m time under 50sec then under 45sec and so on.
      There are some good hints on freestyle that will help you at so I suggest showing one of your parents this page and they could get it for you.
      The Swimming Expert

  7. Adam February 28, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

    Hi im 30 in need of advice.
    I quit swimming at 22 achieving 24.1 fc/ 26 .3 fly / 29.1 brst and 28.4 bk on 50’s lc. Ive just started getting back in the pool. Is it achieveable to get even faster despite my age as ive been told im too old to even get near my times let alone that ive been out the pool for 8yrs?

    • Gary March 1, 2014 at 3:59 am #

      Hi Adam, Having been out of the water for 8 years it will take some time to bring your times down close to your previous personal best times.
      Yes, it is definitely achievable to swim as fast and even faster than your times at 22 years. At 30 you have the opportunity to develop a stronger body and will probably be smarter about what you do in practice.
      Once again, it will take time.
      Regards Gary

  8. Adam February 28, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    Also I forgot to mention will my height make it even harder to go even faster as im training myself as im only 5ft 5! My turns are quick but im running out of ideas of how to go faster as I push myself til I have a sickly feeling as im a strong believer in no pain no gain training??

    • Gary March 1, 2014 at 4:00 am #

      Hi Adam, I don’t believe your height will make any difference as you would have been a similar height when you were 22 years.

  9. Vanda April 12, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    Hi Gary,

    I’m 14 years old and I’m really struggling to get sub- 29 in my 50 freestyle. I’ve been consistently hitting 29’s in galas and at training!I’m a ‘sprinter’ (according to my coach), but I’m a bit worried that I can’t get under this time. I train really hard, and I’m getting annoyed as I’m still not getting the results.What could I do in training/galas to bring this time down LC and SC?


    • Gary April 19, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

      Hi Vanda,
      There will be times in your swimming career where you struggle to swim under a certain time for different events.
      My suggestion is to stop thinking about the outcome (swimming under 29 seconds) and focus on the process. This includes in both practice and at swim meets.
      Focus on a fast and effective start, including entering the water through one hole and improving the speed of your butterfly kicks under water. Continue to work on developing long strong strokes and accelerating your hand through the water on each stroke so that you surge forward on every stroke. Also develop your breathing by breathing every 6, 7 or 8 strokes when doing 50s in practice so that when you come to a race, you do not have to take as many breaths.
      When you race, focus on these aspects of your race and the time will come.
      Please let me know how you go over the next 3 months. Please check out if you want more hints to improve your swimming.

  10. A.J. April 21, 2014 at 3:11 am #

    Hi Gary,

    I just clocked a 44.23 on the 50 yard freestyle. Personal Best!!!

    Is this a good time, and could i qualify for the 2016 olympics?

    • Gary May 4, 2014 at 10:00 am #

      Hi AJ, It really depends how old you are to be able to determine if it is a good time. Your first goal should be to break 40 seconds and then 35 seconds for starters. You can pick up some free tips at to help improve your swimming.

  11. Jessica April 30, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    Hello, i’ve been swimming for half a year now (im 13) and my time is 34.56 for 50 free yards and i really want to reach below 30 seconds tips?

    • Gary May 4, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      Hi Jessica,
      That is very good swimming for someone who has only been swimming for 6 months. Keep working on your skills including starts and fast dolphin kick under water. Developing your technique and some more strength during the under water pull will also helps you bring your goal down to your goal time.

  12. Matt June 10, 2014 at 6:17 am #

    hi gary, i’m 13 and my time for a 50m freestyle is around 32 seconds according to my last official time, but i feel like i have now gotten it down to 30. any tips for getting down to 29? i really want to get down.

    • Gary June 11, 2014 at 10:28 am #

      Hi Matt,
      Rather than focusing on the outcome (swimming under 30 seconds), focus on the process of what you are doing every day. Improve your start, streamline and under water kick will set you up for a good race. Work in practice on getting a further distance forward on each arm stroke and hold a strong pace for the last 15m of your 50m races.
      Good luck

  13. Martin June 17, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

    Hi Gary i’m 21 and i currently go 25.24 for 50m free, i have been injured this year and am hoping to get down to a 24 as soon as i can, do you know some key area’s where i can make that leap….iseem to of hit this plateau the past couple of years.Thanks

    • Gary June 18, 2014 at 9:59 am #

      Hi Martin,
      It’s time to do some really specific work with your coach. Once you start swimming under 25 seconds, everything you do in a race is important.
      You can work on things like improving your first 15m of a race, do some power pull sets over short distances and work on controlling your breathing so that you only need to breath 1, 2 or at the most 3 times in 50m.
      Your coach will be able to help you with these and other suggestions.

  14. Mukesh June 28, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

    My Time Is 29.00 And I want 25 In Present Year

    • Gary June 28, 2014 at 10:38 pm #

      Hi Mukesh,
      That is an ambitious goal however with a lot of hard work and focus on skill and technique it is possible.
      Good Luck

  15. Chad June 30, 2014 at 4:10 am #

    Hi I am Chad, and I swam jv for my school up until this incoming season. I’d like a little bit of in put on how I can go from a 23.8 50 free to a 21 or 20, so I can compete in varsity, like what to train and how to train my body.

    • Gary July 10, 2014 at 8:28 am #

      Hi Chad,
      My suggestion is to talk to a coach in your area who works with male sprinters. They will be able to guide you on the best ways to improve your power and speed through the water.

    • jb August 31, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

      The world record (if im not totally wrong) for 50 freestyle short court is 20,3sec, so you either search for a really professional coach and go to the olympics once you‘ve achieved your 20-goal, or your simply satisfied with ~22sec… (i would be absolutly proud and happy about sub-25)

  16. Lauren July 8, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

    I am going to a champ meet in 3 days and I currently have a 31 low in the 50 free long course and I would like to make zones (the whole East coast of the u.s.) which is a mid 29 and I haven’t swam a best time in that event in about a month so I feel very hopeful, I have a lot of motivation and competition from my friends and team mates I just gotta do it but I was wondering if there is any ways I can work on my breathing or anything else that will help me achieve my goal. I turned 13 two months ago, I’m 5,4′ and on probably the most known and best team in the county.

    • Gary July 10, 2014 at 8:16 am #

      Hi Lauren,
      Good luck at the Championship meet. It sounds like you have the right mindset to swim really fast.
      When you are racing, blow out slowly and then take a good strong breath in and blow out slowly again.
      Focus on being strong with your under water arm pull and fast kicking. You can do it!

  17. Raza July 15, 2014 at 5:46 am #

    Hi Gary,
    I started swimming when i was 11, and used to swim only in summers. when i was 14 my best 50m was 43sec. Unfortunately i had to quit swimming. so now after 9 years i,ve started swimming again, im almost 24 and i have improved my 50m free time to 32.5sec in just 2 months.
    i really want to go below 23sec. How can i do it? please help.
    i have never trained with a professional coach, and where i live it is really hard to find a good coach. how can i achieve my goal of below 23s?

    • Gary July 27, 2014 at 12:02 am #

      Hi Raza, Congratulations on coming back to swimming and your improvement in the last 2 months. My suggestion to reach your goal is to set time targets and then develop a swimming program to achieve these. Your first target will be to swim 50m freestyle in a time under 30 seconds. From there you can set goals to improve your time to swim under 28 seconds. Whether or not you can achieve your goal of swimming under 23 seconds will depend firstly on whether you can tick off these short term goals along the way, so I would focus on the short term goals first.
      To swim under 23 seconds is pretty quick and there would not be many swimmers who could do this without the help of a professional coach. I would recommend seeking out a coach and a squad of swimmers around your age to swim with as this will help you immensely to achieve your goals.

  18. Nick Heartline July 23, 2014 at 6:04 am #

    Hi, I was a sophomore In HS when I decided To join the HS swim team. It became very obvious that I was a sprinter because I dropped from 30 Seconds in the 50y Free to 24.5 Seconds by the end of the season. The event was visible my strongest race. I Am doing a summer swim season right now and will also most likely be doing a fall. There is no swim meets but there is definitely some hard practices with a LOT of distance specific. My couch is saying that I just need to improve my endurance and I will be great but I am worried that so much distance will hurt my sprinting. I Need fast stitch Muscles For swimming not slow stitch. I want to know if you also think that these painful 2 Hour practices will in the end help me and if by the end of my next HS season I could possible Be in the High 22’s. I am 6.1 and 140 Pounds and am open to your personal advice to improve.

    • Gary July 27, 2014 at 12:07 am #

      Hi Nick,
      I have no doubt that what you coach is prescribing for you will assist you to be a faster swimmer in the long term.
      One way to do this is to continue doing some short sprint sets around the endurance work where you continue to work your fast twitch fibres every couple of days.
      Many of the nest sprinters in the world have a large endurance based background and so long as you swim with excellent technique, you will become fitter and stronger and swim faster not only in the 50m freestyle, but the 100m and 200m too.

  19. David d September 18, 2014 at 2:34 am #

    Hi I am 14 years old and swim a 26.01 in the 50 free. I’ve grown 5 inches from last year and want to get my time to a 24.5. I har been lifting all summer. Any tips on my endeavor?

    • Gary October 11, 2014 at 11:02 am #

      Hi, That’s great news that you have grown taller as this will mean your arms have lengthened and you will be able to reach further in front and behind with your swimming.
      My key tip would be to do some band only pull work in short sets. I have had a lot of success with the following set with 14 to 16 year olds. The set is to go 8 x 25 Freestyle on 40 seconds with a band around your ankles and no pull buoy. Do the first six by sprinting 15m and swim easy 10m and the last two sprinting for 25m. This will develop pure power. You can then take the band off and do 8 x 25m freestyle fast on 30 and improve your speed. If you did 400 easy and then did all of this again two more times, it would be a great set to improve power.
      This set could be done once a week for 6 weeks as a part of your training.
      The Swimming Expert

  20. Vixen West November 8, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

    Hi, I’m 14 female and my fastest time is 31.80 and I need my time to go under 29.00 to break our club record. It hasn’t been broken for 28 years and I really want to but I need to do it before January 26, 2015 because that’s when I change age groups. My coach thinks I can do it but I know dropping 3 seconds in two months is extremely hard. Any advice?

    • Gary November 12, 2014 at 6:27 am #

      Listen to your coach and follow the advice they give you over the next 6 weeks.
      Work on improving your hand speed under water without letting your hand slip at all. This will give you more power and speed.
      Concentrate every time you et to practice a start as most swimmers can improve at least half a second just by focusing on improving their start.
      Good luck and let me know how you go.

  21. Madison November 18, 2014 at 2:14 am #

    Hi Gary,
    I am currently on a swim team and my fastest time is a 30.46. I am 13 years old and I am currently trying to swim a 29 second 50. I really need to accomplish this goal so that I will have a better chance at getting into finals. Is there any way to meet my goal in 2 months? I have been told that I flip to close to the wall. Do you have any other tips?

    • Gary November 21, 2014 at 7:26 am #

      Yes Madison, a drop of one second is very possible over a two month period.
      If you are flipping too close to the wall, practice fast turns (going at race speed) in practice and take one less stroke going into the turn, so that you turn slightly further away from the wall but let your momentum take you in and over. As you take the last stroke pull hard under water and accelerate your feet over onto the wall.
      The second tip I would give you is to practice holding the water with your hand and accelerate your hand through the water on every stroke. This will provide you with increased forward propulsion which will help you to swim faster.
      Good luck

  22. Claire November 23, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

    Hi i’m Claire! Im 11 and I have been swimming for 6 years. My time in the short course 50 free is 28.53. I really need to get my time to to 27.87 fastto make my junior olympic cut! Any tips?

    • Gary December 4, 2014 at 12:23 am #

      Hi Claire,
      If you haven’t already, sit down with your coach and they will be able top help you identify areas you can improve and how you can do this in practice in preparation for a race.
      Without having watched you swim, my main suggestions would be to continually work on your starts and maximising your acceleration through the water whilst reducing any resistance or drag.

  23. Tiffany November 24, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

    Hi Gary,

    I am 16 year old girl, and just recently started swimming competitively, so I have been swimming competetively for about 3 months now. My time for 50 free is 34 seconds short course, A couple months ago my best time was 38, is this a good improvement? And if I keep doing what I’m doing will it be possible to reach around 29-30? In my opinion I feel like my flip turns are tas efficient as they could be they aren’t fast, I kinda curl up at the end for a couple seconds and it’s fairly slow and my dives aren’t as far and shallow as I strive for them to be. Do you think if I improve these factors they could contribute a lot to improving my times? and approximately when would I expect to see these changes in my time?

    Sorry for so many questions,



    • Gary December 6, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

      Hi Tiffany,
      Yes, an improvement from 38 seconds to 34 seconds is a great improvement in a 3 month period.
      Yes, it will be possible for you to get down around 30 seconds over time and by working on your flip turn and starts from now you can do this.
      You will need to practice fast (race speed) starts over and over again, and the same with fast turns. Your coach will be able to facilitate the starts and you can practice faster turns every day in practice.
      As far as how long it will take… at a guess you would be looking at 12 months if you really focus at training to improve your swimming speed, starts and turns.
      The Swimming Expert

  24. Yousif December 1, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    Hi Gary,
    I’m 10 years old and my time is 41.29 (long course). I need to get down to 39.00 by Dec. 13. My time was set in March. I only have about six lessons till the competition. I really want to qualify for the out of country competition in February but I have to get the time by Dec. 13 at the competition at school. Is it possible? If so how can I do it?

    • Gary December 4, 2014 at 12:18 am #

      Hi Yousif,
      Over the next few sessions work on holding the water with your hands and then increasing your hand speed and the pressure on the water so that your body moves forward more quickly.
      Good luck.

  25. Emma December 6, 2014 at 8:09 am #

    Hi Gary,

    My daughter is 9 and training with the senior squad (12 yrs and up) as our club cannot cater for her at a lower level. My concern is that she is doing main sets such as 40 x 100m or 20 x 200m in a session, up to 5 times a week. Although her times are slower she is still expected to do the full set over a 2 hr period. My concern is that she tires and doesn’t make the times so ends up just swimming 4 km without any recovery periods between each 100m or 200m. She is starting to lose motivation to swim and I have noticed that she is not as strong in the water and swimming much slower. Will this type of training cause long term problems with her speed and ability to race, as I feel she should be getting recovery between each distance and doing some sprint work? Thanks Emma

    • Gary December 6, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

      Hi Emma,
      What you describe does seem excessive for a 9 year old particularly if she is being asked to do similar sets day after day.
      My suggestion is to sit down with her coach and express your concerns and discuss this with her coach.
      While she will be getting some major aerobic and fitness benefits, swimming at the same speed all the time will not help her improve her speed through the water.

Leave a Reply