A swim pace calculator determines how long a swimmer takes to swim a certain distance. It considers the turn, push and start advantages when calculating swimming splits.
A swimming split is the amount of time you took to swim a specific part of a race. A split can be one length, a lap, or any other distance. A lap is generally there and back in a pool (2 lengths).
A good swim pace is about 2 minutes per 100m.
If you want to hit this pace, aim to swim:
- One length of a 25m pool in 30 seconds
- One length of a 50m pool in 1 minute
- Four and a half lengths of a 25yd pool in 2 minutes
- Three lengths of a 33m pool in 2 minutes
Understanding your swim pace is the first step to becoming a better swimmer since you can use the average target pace as a measure of improvement.
Swim pace calculator
This swim pace calculator will work out how far you’ve swum based on the number of lengths you’ve completed in the more common swimming pool lengths. (25 yds, 25m, 33m, and 50m). It will also calculate the total distance if you know the number of miles or kilometers you’ve swum.
It will then calculate your average swim pace per length plus suggest a good pace per length to target.
How to use the swim pace calculator
If you swam 50 lengths in a 25-yard pool and it took you 45 minutes, start by entering the number of lengths you swam.
Then select the pool length and add the time: 0 hours 45 minutes 0 seconds.
The swim pace calculator will then give you the following result.
Total distance: 1,250 yards or 1,143 meters
Your pace per length: 00:54
Average good pace per length to target for that distance: 00:27
Use the calculator below to work out your pace and the recommended pace.
Swim pace calculator
Threshold swim pace
The threshold swim pace is the pace at which you can swim indefinitely. The concept is known as the maximal lactate steady state, which is the state in which your body can burn off the lactic acid that your muscles produce as you swim.
Swimming beyond this pace will produce too much lactic acidosis and you’ll slow down, while swimming below it means you aren’t swimming as fast as you should. To work out your threshold pace, it’s also useful to know average swim times by age to see how you compare.
Gear for tracking swim pace
Tracking your swim pace is essential as it lets you know where you’re at, which will help you set bigger goals and propel your improvement. The following are a few swim pace-tracking gears that will help you in your quest to become a faster swimmer.
Swim pace beeper
A swim pace beeper will help you keep your desired pace by setting your training tempo with audible beeps. One of the best swim pace beepers in the market is the FINIS tempo trainer. This pace tracker will eliminate the lulls in your workout by monitoring your stroke tempo, stroke rate per minute, and lap pace.
Swimming pace on Apple Watch
An Apple watch is also an excellent swim pace monitor, but only if it has the water resistance feature. Before starting a swim, open the workout app, and select whichever swim you’re going on, either open water or pool. You need to set the pool length for more accurate lap and distance measurements for a pool swim. You should then set your calorie, time, or distance goals and press start.
Once the exercise begins, your Apple watch will lock the screen to ensure accidental taps don’t disrupt the measurements. However, the watch will still display your progress.
You can end your workout by pressing the Digital Crown and side button, turning the Crown, and then swiping right and tapping the end button. Next, unlock your screen by pressing and holding the Digital Crown. Your watch will show a summary of your workout.
Swimming pace for beginners
If you are a beginner, the first step is to measure your pace — then improve your speed. This will ensure you establish a baseline for reference as you improve your swim pace.
A good swim pace is 2 mins to swim 100m but if you are a beginner it may take some time to reach such a pace.
Average swimming speed
The average swimming speed for most swimmers will swim a mile in 30 minutes. As a beginner, you might be slower and finish a mile in 40 to 50 minutes. If you’re an intermediate swimmer, you can complete a mile in 30 to 35 minutes, while professionals may take 25 minutes or less to swim a mile. You can hit a 25-minute mile with constant training and perhaps surpass it.
Open water swim pace
Open water swimming pace is different from pool water pace, as swimming in an open water body comes with challenges. Unlike calm pool water, ocean or sea water can be turbulent and have waves affecting a swimmer’s speed.
Lakes tend to be calmer than seas and oceans, but strong winds can make the water choppier, making it more challenging since the pace increases by 10 seconds.
Triathlon swim pace
For the sprint triathlon, which has the shortest swim distance of 750 meters, the average swim speed is 1.34 minutes for every 100 meters for the average participant or an age-grouper.
The entire race takes an average of 2 hours to complete. Beginners usually start with the sprint triathlon, which helps build endurance for longer races.
Half ironman swim pace (70.3)
The average half-ironman swim pace is 2.06 minutes for every 100 meters for the average triathlete. The distance in the half Ironman swim is longer, at 1500 meters. Running and biking are also twice as long, further taxing the body.
Ironman swim pace
The ironman swim has the longest swim distance at 3.9 kilometers. The average swim pace is 2.02 minutes for every 100 meters. This race is the toughest as all the distances are much longer. Therefore, the training required to participate is intense. However, you can build your endurance with shorter triathlons or training with a coach.
For more on half and full ironman, swimming times have a look at this swim pace chart.
How to improve swim pace
The first and most important way to improve your swim pace is to swim more. To keep at it, break your swim pace goals into smaller goals — aim to swim one length at your target pace and build it up from there.
Here are a few tips to help you improve your swim pace. You can always use the swim pace calculator to compare your pace as you improve.
Improve your balance
As you swim, keep your body balanced by staying horizontal. Evenly balancing your body as you swim disturbs fewer water molecules, reducing drag.
While it is easy to start swimming at this position, it is common for most swimmers to disrupt their balance when lifting their heads to breathe. A higher head tips the hips and legs, sinking them deeper into the water. You’re also bound to get tired quickly.
If you lose your balance, try to realign your body to eliminate the drag and reclaim your speed.
Making yourself as tall as possible will also help boost your swimming speed, reducing drag. This tip comes from the principle that thinner and longer objects move faster in water than shorter, thicker objects. Marine engineers have tried, tested, and applied the principle for years.
To keep yourself as tall as possible as you swim, ensure that you plunge your recovery arm into the water immediately after it passes your head. You should also fully stretch your recovery arm before you downsweep and catch for your next stroke.
Work on your kicks
The more efficient your kicks, the faster you move through the water. While the efficiency of a kick isn’t often considered as important in increasing speed, it contributes an estimated 10% to your swimming speed, while the arms provide 90%. Still, a 10% improvement is an improvement nonetheless.
To increase the efficiency of your kick, your movements should be fast and compact. Try not to lift your feet only a little or push them too low.
Swim side to side
Swimming side to side increases your propulsion, thus boosting your speed. As you swim, rolling from side to side engages your chest, back, and shoulder muscles. Use your arms to pull yourself through the water as you turn.
Engage your core muscles
Engaging your core muscles, in addition to your chest, shoulder, and back muscles will also improve your propulsion. When these muscles work in harmony, the stroke of your arms gets more energy and decreases the stress put on your shoulders.
However, the only way to engage all these different muscle groups is to learn to swim on your sides.
Anchor your arms
Anchoring your arms as you swim will propel your body faster through the water. This technique involves coordinating the movement of your arms, forearm, and hand and moving these parts as one. Your arms act like a paddle, making it easier for you to cut through the water.
To properly anchor your arm, turn your palm and the inside of your forearm backward. This position turns your hand and forearm downward, making your elbow slightly above your body.
Swim Pace Calculator FAQs
How many laps in a pool is a mile?
The answer to this question depends on which mile you’re using and the length of the pool you’re swimming in. Remember that a lap is usually equal to 2 lengths.
If you’re using the standard mile — commonly used in triathlons — the mile will be 1609 meters or 1760 yards.
However, the metric mile used in most indoor pool competitions is 1500 meters or 1650 yards.
For the triathlon or standard mile — 1609 meters or 1,760 yards
25-yard pool — 35 ¼ laps (70 ½ lengths)
25-meter pool — 32 ¼ laps (64 ½ lengths)
33-meter pool — 24 ⅓ laps (48 ⅔ lengths)
50-meter pool — 16 laps (32 lengths)
For the metric or swimmers mile — 1500 meters or 1,650 yards
25-yard pool — 33 laps (66 lengths)
25-meter pool — 30 laps (60 lengths)
33-meter pool — 22 ¾ laps (45 ½ lengths)
50-meter pool — 15 laps (30 lengths)
Is it better to swim faster or longer?
It depends on the goal you are wanting to achieve. If you are aiming for a fast pace, then swimming faster is better. But, keep in mind that swimming too fast can cause a build-up of lactic acid which will cause you to slow down. It’s also easy to drop your swimming technique when you’re trying to go as fast as possible. So the key is to make sure that you’re swimming fast enough to maintain a good pace but not so fast that you burn out.
However, if you’re wanting to focus on covering distance, then swimming for longer can help you build endurance. Swimming slower will allow you to focus on technique which in turn can make you swim faster.
Is swimming more effective than the gym?
Swimming and gym are great forms of exercise and you should try to do both. How effective they are depends on how much effort you put into both.
Most swimmers incorporate some form of dry land training into their program to help them build muscle strength and endurance. Have a look at this Joggo Review. It’s an app that will give you a personalized training program to become fitter through running and stronger through customized weight-bearing exercises. It’s the perfect program to complement your swimming plan.
Many people who work out at the gym use swimming as a form of cardiovascular training and, depending on how fast or how long you swim, you can expect a decent number of calories burned swimming which will help with weight loss.
Is swimming better than walking?
Although swimming and walking burn calories, swimming has more benefits. Swimming is more intense than walking and burns more calories. Also, swimming uses more muscles than walking and strengthens the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Unlike walking, swimming is kinder to the ankles and the knees and is ideal for people with joint pain.
However, swimming requires one to learn the skill and find a pool. With walking, you can just get up and start. The lack of equipment or preparation also makes walking easier to incorporate into a daily routine. You’ll still have a number of calories burned walking if you walk fast enough. Nevertheless, if you want faster weight loss, swimming might be more beneficial.
Will swimming get rid of flabby arms?
Swimming is a great exercise that burns calories for the entire body. So yes, if you swim constantly, the fat under your arms will eventually reduce. However, pairing swimming with arm exercises such as lifting weights may be beneficial if you want toned arms.
Can I get a six-pack from swimming?
Swimming works your abs and core muscles, and it’s a great way to build rock-hard abs. However, keep in mind that diet plays an important role in being lean enough to see your abs. If you’re swimming all the time but overindulging, chances are your abs will be hidden beneath a layer or two of fat. It’s best to combine swimming with a healthy diet for the best results.
How often should you swim to see results?
You should swim four to five times a week to see results. However, choose a schedule that works for you and is sustainable. We recommend starting with small, manageable chunks and building up from there.
If weight loss and toning is your goal, the more you swim, the better. You’ll lose more calories daily, and they’ll add up and result in weight loss if you’re eating a healthy diet.
Do I need rest days from swimming?
While swimming tends to be more gentle on the body than other forms of exercise, it’s still a form of exercise that will work your muscles. Therefore, we recommend incorporating rest days.
You also need rest days from swimming because it improves exercise performance. Rest prevents fatigue which may impair your swimming. In addition, you get more energy to exercise after a rest. Therefore, you need to take rest days.
If you’re worried about missing physical activity, opt for an alternative such as walking or stretching. You can then resume your swimming routine with more energy to spare.
- A swim pace calculator will help you work out your swimming pace plus give you a target pace.
- A swimming split is the amount of time you took to swim a portion of a distance. It can be a length, a lap, or any other distance.
- A good swim pace is 2 minutes per 100m.
- Knowing your swimming pace can help you improve your swimming speed so that you can achieve your goal.