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How to Improve my 50m Freestyle Time?

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.50m Freestyle

Regards, Brandon


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.  You can also secure this great eBook written by Australian Olympic Coach (2004 & 2012) Leigh Nugent Improve Your 50m Freestyle.



The Swimming Expert

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110 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 http://www.50SwimTips.com 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 http://www.50SwimTips.com 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 http://www.50SwimTips.com 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.

  26. Ashleigh December 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    I’m 12 years old and my time for 50 free is 27.49 I really want to get 26. Do you think it’s possible. Also is it possible to make the Olympics someday.

    • Gary December 30, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

      Yes, if you are already swimming 27.49, over time you can get your time down to 26. Have a read through the other posts on this page for many different suggestions.

  27. Michael December 16, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

    Hello I am 16 years old and my time is 28.60 for 50 Free. In order to qualify for my provincial championships I need to get 27 seconds and I need to do this by February 20th, 2015. What can I do to beat that time?

    • Gary December 23, 2014 at 8:16 am #

      Hi Michael,
      Really focus on improving your skills (starts, turns and finishes) over the next few weeks. This will help you to achieve your goal.
      Good luck.

  28. em January 3, 2015 at 6:17 am #

    Hi! I am 11. My fastest 50 is 33 seconds. I am trying to breathe better as I know this would help but I’m just not getting it. I am fast for my size (54 inches) do what I’m told in training but no matter what I find I’m running out of air and end up taking more breaths than I should. Every 3 strokes. My coaches do not work on this. Any advice? Thank you

    • Gary January 8, 2015 at 7:02 am #

      The good thing is that you have identified an area to improve – your breathing – and you are now focusing on that.
      In races, swimmers will always revert back to how they breathe in practice. For example if a swimmer breathes every 2 in practice, they will also end up doing this in a race as they get tired.
      So, whatever breathing pattern you want to hold in a race, must be practiced at training, both swimming easy and swimming fast.
      My advice is to practice breathing every 3 or 4 or 5 in practice every day and develop your lungs gradually over time so that you can control your breath more in races.
      You also need to make sure that you blow all the air out in your lungs before turning your head to breath in again. If you do this every time, you will get a nice big breath of oxygen in and then be able to blow it out slowly over the 3, 4 5 or more strokes and then take another breath in only once you have exhaled all the existing oxygen. This will make a big difference.
      Hope these help.

  29. David January 7, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    Hello i am 18 years old I started swimming this year I swim my 50 free is 31.11 I was wondering how to im prove my time to 29.00 regionals is in 3 weeks and becaue i practice every day for about 4 hours in the pool. Please help
    Thank you David

    • Gary January 8, 2015 at 6:56 am #

      Hi David,
      I would suggest having a read through my posts on this topic and picking out two or three things to work on over the next 3 weeks.
      Developing your starts is an obvious one and by staying back after each practice and doing 10 additional starts with correct technique, you will improve in this area quickly.

  30. Charlie January 8, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

    Hello I’m 18 years old and just started swimming, in 3 months time there will be a competition at my school and my current time is around 40 seconds at 50m freestyle. I’ve only been going to the gym, every day for 6 months to increase my strength and would say I’m quite physically strong. However, now I would like to increase my swimming speed and improve as much as I can. Any advice to improve on such a short term?

    • Gary January 17, 2015 at 1:47 am #

      Hi Charlie,
      The best advice I can give you is to swim.
      If you could swim 3 to 5 days a week and work on developing a good feel of the water you will improve very quickly.
      Work with a coach if you can as they will give you hints on how to improve your technique.
      Good luck.

  31. Nihal reddy January 18, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

    Well I turned 15 and my timing for a 50m freestyle is 32sec.In 3 months I would want to get below 30sec.Is that possible?

    • Gary January 21, 2015 at 10:05 am #

      Hi Nihal,
      Yes this is possible. I suggest you talk to your coach in regards to what your goals are and work out together what you need to do in training to achieve them.
      One suggestion is to really work on your dive starts and practice driving off the block, streamlining through the water with a very fast butterfly kick and then accelerate into the first 6 strokes.
      Good luck.

  32. Hazeem January 20, 2015 at 6:59 am #

    Hello I’m 15 years old and just started swimming, in 3-4 months time there will be a competition and my current time is around 36 seconds at 50m freestyle.I train 6 days a week.However, now I would like to increase my swimming speed and improve as much as I can. Any advice to improve on such a short term?

    • Gary January 21, 2015 at 10:07 am #

      Hi Hazeem,
      The two areas to really work on are improving your aerobic ability, so swimming with good technique over 100s, 200s and 400s, and the second one is to improve your power by swimming really fast 10m, 15m and 20m sprints.
      Your coach will be able to assist you with these.

      • Hazeem March 6, 2015 at 8:58 am #

        Hi Gary,
        For now i’ve been swimming for about 4 months now…last time i did ask u for tips n it really works…from 36 to32 in the 50 free..so now im trying to get a lowwer time perhaps 29-28or if possible 27.Is their any tips? I am now 15years old with the height of 173cm

        • Gary March 7, 2015 at 6:41 am #

          Hi Hazeem, Four seconds is a great improvement for your 50m freestyle in such a short time. Congratulations!
          My suggestion now is to read through the different posts on this page and pick out the two areas that you feel are your weakest areas.
          This may be with your skills like starts or finishes. It may have to do with technique or it may be to do with your strength and power.
          Once you have identified (and your coach can help you) your weaknesses, work on improving them.

          • Hazeem March 12, 2015 at 8:01 am #

            Thanks Gary..how about my 100m free? For now its 1.17 .furthermore,should i hit the gym?lastly what diet should i do?

  33. Julia January 21, 2015 at 1:54 am #

    I am 10 almost 11 I need to drop 2 and a half seconds in a 50 free for age group sectionals my birthday is 6 days before sectionals so I have to make the 11 cut. Do you have any tips or suggestions?

    • Gary January 21, 2015 at 10:01 am #

      Hi Julia,
      Over the next few weeks really work on holding the water during your underwater pull and surge your body forward over your hand.
      It is also worth reading through the different suggestions I have made to other swimmers on this page.

      • Hazeem March 24, 2015 at 6:42 am #

        Hello Gary
        How to improve my starting?…from the starting block untill the underwater..

        • Gary April 6, 2015 at 4:50 am #

          Hi Hazeem,
          My suggestion is for you to ask your coach to look at your starts and then practice exploding off the block every time you practice one.

  34. Hayley January 24, 2015 at 11:45 pm #

    Hi Gary,

    My name is Hayley im 12 ( will be 13 in February ) . For my 50m free i do 33:38 I really want to get a 26:00 one day but my goal right now is 30:00 would it be possible to get it by October and if so what are some things I should work on ( im mainly bad on my kick and in competitions the other girls beat me by the flip turn ,25 m pool if your wondering) and im 90 lbs 5.4 feet and female i one day want to do breaststroke and freestyle in the olympics my breast stroke time is 39:56 how can i better it also ( im an amazing breast stroke kicker i can go as fast as those who sprint free style kick and there really fast .

    Thanks for your help ( i have a competition tomorrow have to get to bed now ) Hayley : D

    • Gary January 25, 2015 at 12:50 am #

      Hi Hayley,
      The first thing I would do is sit down with your coach, share your goals, and work out together how you can make the improvements you need to make.
      In freestyle if you practice accelerating (getting faster) for the last 7 meters into and out of every flip turn in practice, you will improve your turn very quickly. Have your coach look at your turn and provide feedback to you on what to improve.
      While dropping from 33.38 to under 30 seconds is a realistic goal, you will need to work every day at practice on improving your freestyle.
      Hope this helps and hope you swim/swam well at your competition.

  35. Sabrina January 31, 2015 at 10:31 am #

    Hi Gary,

    I’m Sabrina and I am 14 and in my sophomore year. I stopped swimming 1 and a half years ago and my best time was 36.5s when I was 13. I know it’s not that good, but I was pretty good for my age at my school. The problem is I have a swimming carnival coming up and it is my first swimming carnival at this new school and I really want to prove myself, we don’t have many good swimmers but my average time now is 45s! I am so disappointed, because My coach and I were trying to break 30s by the end of that year, but I got injured running. How to I get my time lower again and increase my lung capacity or hold my breath longer (with asthma) and if I tried hard how much faster could I get in say, a week?

    Thanks a lot,

    • Gary January 31, 2015 at 10:14 pm #

      Hi Sabrina,
      My suggestion would be to swim 3 times in the next week prior to your swimming carnival, say every second day.
      Each day, work on your feel of the water. After doing about 400m easy swim do 12 x 50’s freestyle doing the first 4 build, the next 4 as 25 fast, 25 easy and the last 4 as 25 easy, 25 fast.
      You can then do a swim down, still working on feeling the water.
      It will not take long to bring your time back down. Your body should be stronger through natural growth and development and this will help you.
      Also practice some dive starts each day as you can make up a second or two on the start as well just by getting used to doing them again.
      Hope this helps.
      Good Luck

  36. Kylie February 12, 2015 at 2:13 am #

    Dear Gary,
    I know that a lot of your posts have to deal with the 50 freestyle but I am no longer a sprinter. I am 16 and I swim the 200 freestyle in a 2:03 and the 500 freestyle in a 5:33. I am one second off of each school record and previously just placed 8th in the 500 at sectionals and 7th in the 200. I know I could’ve done better but I was nervous. Is that good? Do you know of any good sets I could try out?

    • Gary February 25, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

      Hi Kylie,
      Yes your times are very good and you should be proud of your achievements so far.
      I assume you swim in a squad and I would recommend that you sit down with your coach and have a look at some suitable time based goals and then work out what you need to improve with your technique, skills and training overall to achieve the goals.
      You mention that you got nervous when you swam. This is not necessarily a bad thing so long as you don’t get too nervous or over anxious and start fretting and wasting energy before you swim.
      A set you may like to try is to swim 10 x 100 on 1min30sec and hold 1min 5sec for each 100. If you can do this easy, then reduce the time cycle to 1min 25sec, then 1min 20sec or 1min 15sec. This will teach you to swim at 1min 5 sec pace which will assist you to swim under 5:25 for the 500 in a short period of time.
      Let me know how you go.

  37. Katherine February 14, 2015 at 7:11 am #

    Hi Gary,

    I’m Katherine. I’ve only been swimming for two years on a team but am already 17 years old. My best 50 free time is 32 seconds. Considering how old I already am, how much further is it possible to cut from my time?

    • Gary February 17, 2015 at 9:28 am #

      Hi Katherine,
      That’s a great time for someone who has only been swimming for two years.
      If you are willing to continue to work on your skills and technique and gradually improve your speed and fitness, there is no reason you cant break 30 seconds and then set a goal to swim even faster.

  38. Michelle February 20, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

    Hi Gary,

    I’ve read the advice you have given people and it seems amazing .. I was wondering whether you could help me.
    I’m currently 13 and I’m doing squads @ a local swim club, tonight I got a new PB of 43.56. We have sprint clubs weekly and my goal for this year is to get under 40. Lately, I’ve been having trouble with making my tumbleturns and arm strokes strong enough to actually make a real difference to my time. My peers have told me that my kicking just needs more pedal power but I’m quite clueless on what to do next – I’m planning on building my upper body strength cause lately my arms have been feeling like concrete.

    Any advice?


    • Gary February 25, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

      Hi Mish,
      The best advice I can give you is to work on improving your technique and skills like tumble turns in every minute of every session.
      Talk to your coach about what your goals are and ask them to give you advice on what you can do to improve your times more quickly.
      If you get the chance to work on sculling in training, this will improve your feel of the water and when you do kick sets (especially freestyle kick), work really hard to improve your kicking speed and the distance you can kick.
      To drop your time under 40 seconds is very achievable.
      Good luck

  39. Shane February 23, 2015 at 11:43 am #

    Hey there..ive have history with this event..when i was 11 i was one of the best swimmers in my state but i stopped for years after an incident..now im 17 and i wanna make my childhood complete so swam again and my time for 50 butterflies is 30.1 seconds and freestyle is 29.73 seconds..i got back in the regionals in my country but im not satisfied..(yes my country sucks in swimming)..i had a 50 time of 27s in both events when i was 11..i need help. Shane

    • Gary February 25, 2015 at 9:07 pm #

      Hi Shane,
      You are very capable of getting back down to 27 seconds, however you have a different body now than you did when you were younger and you will need to train your body to swim at these speeds.
      To get back down to 29/30 is a great achievement after not swimming for so long.
      To take the next step may I suggest you join a squad if you haven’t already and really apply yourself to your swimming for a period of 12 months. This training will provide you with the necessary technique and skill feedback and the general swimming fitness to swim a lot faster.
      Let me know how you go.

  40. Bernd February 25, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    Hi Gary,

    I am glad that I found this website with all the information about sprinting freestyle. I am 50 years old and I started swimming when I was 45 years old. In the beginning I dropped quickly form 38 seconds to 33 seconds but then I got stuck at around 31 seconds which is still my best time. My big goal is to still go below 30 seconds and it seems once I focus on one thing another thing gets worse… feeling for water somehow interferes with my speed and vice versa… Any advise?

    Thank you!


    • Gary February 25, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

      Hi Bernd,
      Your improvement over the past 5 years has been excellent.
      To take that next second or two off I would recommend getting some tips from a swimming coach who will be able to identify technique improvements for you.
      Also take some time to practice your dive starts as this is another area that can improve quickly and give you another 0.3 to 0.5 second advantage.

  41. Alex R March 1, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

    Hello my name is alex and at the end of my first year of competitive swimming my 1@@ free clocked in at 1:11 do you think it’s possible to get it down to under 1:00 by next year? I am currently a junior and I also want to do swimming out of school to help me for lost time

    • Gary March 7, 2015 at 6:48 am #

      Hi Alex, Anything is possible if you put your mind to it and commit to the training required. While 11 seconds is a huge challenge, you will make inroads very quickly if you focus on doing the right thing in every training session. This includes a focus on technique, skills and effort on a daily basis. Whether you take the full 11 seconds off in one year or not, you will then know that you gave it your best shot.
      Good luck.

  42. Carmela March 2, 2015 at 11:16 am #

    Hi Gary,

    I am 14 year old spanish swimmer, I swim since I was very young, however, I have injuries very often which stops me from being able to train for long periods of time. It is always very hard for me to get back on track, 2015 is going well but my times are going up, I think it might be because im growing so much and getting so much heavier. I need a 32.14 in 50M Freestyle, I had a 33.20 but in my last meets it has been going up to 34. Im traning way more than whenI got the 33.20. What am I doing wrong? And how canImake a huge impact on all my different times?

    • Gary March 7, 2015 at 6:45 am #

      Hi, Many female (and male) swimmers go through stages when their body develops and changes shape where their times will either stagnate or even get a touch slower. You are not alone with this problem.
      My advice is to stay focused on your training and work hard on every aspect of your swimming. Over time, your strength will continue to improve and your power to weight ratio should come back to a point where you swim faster again.
      Continue to swim with good technique and be confident in yourself that you can and will improve your times.
      Let me know how you go.

  43. Swimmerz March 18, 2015 at 11:07 am #

    Hi, I am 14 years old and i have a 34.2 for my 50 freestyle and 1:18 for my 100 freestyle. My personal goal in three months is to hit AT LEAST 29 seconds for my 50 Free. I also want to go to the 2016 Rio Olympics. Do you think this is possible. What can i do to improve my time?

    • Gary March 26, 2015 at 8:23 am #

      The first goal I would set would be to swim under 33 seconds.
      To do this you will need to work on more explosive power off the block and swimming with good technique and powerful strokes.
      Once you have done this, set yourself a new time to aim for.

  44. Ben March 22, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    Hi Gary I’m Ben and I’m 14. I swim a 35 second 50 yard sc freestyle and I want to drop to a 25 second 50 yard sc freestyle. Is this possible and how can it be accomplished in 10 months?

    • Gary March 26, 2015 at 8:21 am #

      Hi Ben,
      While anything is possible, a 10 second drop over 50 yards freestyle in 10 months is a big ask.
      My suggestion would be to focus on improving your starts and speed and power through the water and set a goal of swimming under 33 seconds.
      Once you have done this, you can reassess your goal to drop some more time.

  45. Amber March 25, 2015 at 3:11 am #

    I am 12 years old (well, almost 13) and have been on a swim team for only 2 years now. At my last meet I swam the 50free in 42 seconds, which is 14 seconds faster than what I got at my very first meet a year ago, but I felt like all of the other swimmers were so much faster than me. Is this still a good time for someone who has just started swimming on a team? And what can I do to improve my time?

    • Gary March 25, 2015 at 8:28 pm #

      Hi Amber,
      That is a great improvement in one year.
      If you can swim consistently for a 6 month period, you will find that your times will improve very quickly and you will start catching some of the competitors who are quicker than you.

  46. Jenna March 26, 2015 at 11:50 am #

    Hi Gary! I am 15 years old and i started swimming 2 years ago. My very first time 2 years ago was a 1:04 for a 50 free. I have cut it down to a 33.7. I am very strong with my upper body when i swim but my legs seem to not help at all. I really want to swim fast so if you could tell me what to do to strengthen my legs that would be great. Also how do i not get tired during a 100 butterfly. My arms always go limp after the first 50.

    Thanks again!

    • Gary April 4, 2015 at 3:04 am #

      Hi Jenna,
      In training focus a bit more on what your legs are doing during each set. Work especially hard in all kick sets to improve your kicking. Over a 3 month period your kicking will improve a lot.
      In regards to your 100 butterfly question, doing more butterfly in training will assist this.

  47. Brandon March 31, 2015 at 2:00 am #

    Hi Gary. I am 14 years old and I don’t really swim in meets often. I took a little break from swimming in the fall to play football for the first time. Before that in August (When I was 13), I was hitting 25 sprint free on 16 seconds. My coach said with a dive, I could’ve hit a 50 free in under 26 seconds. Even longer before when I was 12, nearly 13, I went to my first meet and hit 50 free on 32 seconds. (The other two events I got DQ’d because my previous coach wasn’t that great) Now, at the age of 14 I don’t know any of my times considering that I don’t attend meets. My coach made me do the 25 sprint frees again. I hit them on 19 seconds but I didn’t exactly sprint. How fast do you think I will be able to hit 50 frees and how long do you think it will take? And is it true that I were to be able to hit a 50 free in under 26 seconds in August?

    • Gary April 4, 2015 at 3:00 am #

      Hi Brandon,
      If you did a 25m sprint in 16 sec the second 25m would normally be about 18 sec giving you a time of 34 sec, less 3 sec advantage for a dive means that the 50m time you may have done when you were 13 years would have been closer to 31 sec than 26 sec. I think 31 sec from a dive start would be a great goal to achieve at first and then you can take off 1.5 sec and set 29.5 sec as your new goal. As you reach each goal, set a new one.

  48. Natalie April 7, 2015 at 12:28 am #

    Hi Gary I’m 8 years old and I just did the 50 meter free short course in 38.58 just my 7 th race in the free style this year first year competitive swimming . I was only half a second from my B standard time I race again in 3 weeks I have been training on my starts and turns and just not sure how fast I can really go. I also did the 200 meter free in 3.28.12 just 4 seconds off the MQT time 100 meter free 1.29.09

    • Gary April 7, 2015 at 7:27 am #

      Well done Natalie. That’s pretty quick for an 8 year old.

  49. Eric April 10, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

    Hello, I am 13 1/2 years old, and I started swimming at a young age but quit for about 3 years. I started off a year ago with a 55 second 50 free, but now I have dropped to a 29.93. Is it possible I drop 4 seconds in 6 months? Also, I have been aiming for a 2:14 on the 200 free for a long time but I can’t seem to drop a lot of time. Is there a way I can drop 30 seconds on that?


    • Gary April 14, 2015 at 9:01 pm #

      Hi Eric,
      Well done on your improvements so far.
      4 seconds is a big drop in a short period of time however it will really depend on how often you are training and the type of work your coach is giving you.
      In regards to improving your 200m race you really need to commit to 5 or 6 sessions a week minimum for 12 months to have any chance of taking that sort of time off.

  50. Siya April 26, 2015 at 11:57 pm #

    Hi, I am a 11 yr old girl, and have a 41.68 in the 50 free. In order to get B time, I need a 34.09. Any tips? Plz, I really need help before I go to my next meet!

    • Gary May 2, 2015 at 9:56 am #

      Hi Siya,
      My suggestion is to have a look at all the different posts above this one to pick out 2 or 3 pointers where you think you can improve.
      This will help you get towards your goal.

  51. Ananda April 27, 2015 at 11:55 am #

    I am 14 years old and I really want to got to the Rio 2016 Olympics. Can you tell me all the meets I would have to attend and what times I would be needing to swim for team USA.
    Thanks in advance

    • Gary May 2, 2015 at 9:55 am #

      Hi Annida,
      The easy answer is that you will need to swim very fast, somewhere in the low 24 seconds to make the USA team for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
      In regards to meets, have a look at the USA Swimming website at the different meets available.

  52. Gary May 2, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    Hi guys,
    I have CLOSED this discussion post.
    If you have any questions that you would like answered on this topic or others, please email them to me at gary@theswimmingexpert.com.

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