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Swim Pace Chart – Quick and Easy to Use

swim pace chart

A swim pace chart is an excellent tool if you want to work out how long it will take you to swim longer distances.

For example, maybe you’d like to know how long it will take you to swim your first half ironman, or perhaps you’d like to know if you’d make the cut-off time. Simply work out your pace for a shorter distance and use the chart to calculate the time to swim longer distances.

Swim pace chart in meters

Swim paces vary based on whether a pool is in meters or yards. Swim pace charts based on meters will have slightly longer average times. 

Most competition pool lengths are in meters, so the chart below will make it easier to work out your times.

If you’re looking to work out your swim pace for your next ironman, keep the following in mind:

  • A half-ironman swim is 1.9 km. The cutoff time is 1 hour 10mins.
  • A full ironman swim is 3.9 km. The cutoff time is 2 hours 20 mins. 
100 m200 m300 m400 m¼ mi (402m)500 m600 m700 m800 m½ mi (804m)900 m1000 m1 mi (1609m)Half Ironman 1.9 kmFull Ironman 3.9km
1:002:003:004:004:015:006:007:008:008:029:0010:0016:0519:1838:37
1:102:203:304:404:415:507:008:109:209:2210:3011:4018:4622:3145:03
1:202:404:005:205:216:408:009:2010:4010:4312:0013:2021:2725:4451:29
1:303:004:306:006:017:309:0010:3012:0012:0313:3015:0024:0828:5757:55
1:403:205:006:406:418:2010:0011:4013:2013:2315:0016:4026:4932:101:04:21
1:503:405:307:207:229:1011:0012:5014:4014:4416:3018:2029:2935:241:10:48
2:004:006:008:008:0210:0012:0014:0016:0016:0418:0020:0032:1038:371:17:14
2:104:206:308:408:4210:5013:0015:1017:2017:2519:3021:4034:5141:501:23:40
2:204:407:009:209:2211:4014:0016:2018:4018:4521:0023:2037:3245:031:30:06
2:305:007:3010:0010:0212:3015:0017:3020:0020:0522:3025:0040:1348:161:36:33
2:405:208:0010:4010:4313:2016:0018:4021:2021:2624:0026:4042:5451:291:42:59
2:505:408:3011:2011:2314:1017:0019:5022:4022:4625:3028:2045:3554:421:49:25
3:006:009:0012:0012:0315:0018:0021:0024:0024:0727:0030:0048:1657:551:55:51
3:106:209:3012:4012:4315:5019:0022:1025:2025:2728:3031:4050:571:01:082:02:17
3:206:4010:0013:2013:2316:4020:0023:2026:4026:4730:0033:2053:381:04:212:08:43
3:307:0010:3014:0014:0417:3021:0024:3028:0028:0831:3035:0056:181:07:352:15:10
3:407:2011:0014:4014:4418:2022:0025:4029:2029:2833:0036:4058:591:10:482:21:36
3:507:4011:3015:2015:2419:1023:0026:5030:4030:4934:3038:201:01:401:14:012:28:02
4:008:0012:0016:0016:0420:0024:0028:0032:0032:0936:0040:001:04:211:17:142:34:28

Swim pace chart in yards

A pool in meters is longer than a yards pool, meaning your average times should be faster in yards. Because of the slight differences, a swim pace chart in yards will vary from a swim pace chart based on meters. 

If you’re training in a yards pool or open water for your next Ironman, use the following guide:

  • A half-ironman is 1.2 miles. The cutoff time is 1 hour 10 mins
  • A full ironman is 2.4 miles. The cutoff time is 2 hours 20 mins
100 yd200 yd300 yd400 yd

¼ mi

(440

yd)

500 yd600 yd700 yd800 yd

½ mi

(880 yd)

900 yd1000 yd1 mi (1760 yd)Half ironman1.2 milesFull ironman 2.4 miles
1:002:003:004:004:245:006:007:008:008:489:0010:0017:3621:0742:14
1:102:203:304:405:085:507:008:109:2010:1610:3011:4020:3224:3849:16
1:202:404:005:205:526:408:009:2010:4011:4412:0013:2023:2828:0956:19
1:303:004:306:006:367:309:0010:3012:0013:1213:3015:0026:2431:401:03:21
1:403:205:006:407:208:2010:0011:4013:2014:4015:0016:4029:2035:121:10:24
1:503:405:307:208:049:1011:0012:5014:4016:0816:3018:2032:1638:431:17:26
2:004:006:008:008:4810:0012:0014:0016:0017:3618:0020:0035:1242:141:24:28
2:104:206:308:409:3210:5013:0015:1017:2019:0419:3021:4038:0845:451:31:31
2:204:407:009:2010:1611:4014:0016:2018:4020:3221:0023:2041:0449:161:38:33
2:305:007:3010:0011:0012:3015:0017:3020:0022:0022:3025:0044:0052:481:45:36
2:405:208:0010:4011:4413:2016:0018:4021:2023:2824:0026:4046:5656:191:52:38
2:505:408:3011:2012:2814:1017:0019:5022:4024:5625:3028:2049:5259:501:59:40
3:006:009:0012:0013:1215:0018:0021:0024:0026:2427:0030:0052:481:03:212:06:43
3:106:209:3012:4013:5615:5019:0022:1025:2027:5228:3031:4055:441:06:522:13:45
3:206:4010:0013:2014:4016:4020:0023:2026:4029:2030:0033:2058:401:10:242:20:48
3:307:0010:3014:0015:2417:3021:0024:3028:0030:4831:3035:001:01:361:13:552:27:50
3:407:2011:0014:4016:0818:2022:0025:4029:2032:1633:0036:401:04:321:17:262:34:52
3:507:4011:3015:2016:5219:1023:0026:5030:4033:4434:3038:201:07:281:20:572:41:55
4:008:0012:0016:0017:3620:0024:0028:0032:0035:1236:0040:001:10:241:24:282:48:57

What is swim pace?

A swim pace is how long it takes to swim a set distance. The set distance can be any distance that you choose. For example, it could be a length, a lap, or a distance. (A lap is there and back in a pool. For example, in a 50-meter pool, a lap would be 100 meters.)

Knowing your swim pace will help you predict how long it will take to swim longer distances. It’s also a way to track your average swimming speed and strategize how to improve it. For example, if it used to take you 4 minutes to swim 100m but you can now swim it in 2 minutes, that’s a sign that you are improving as a swimmer. 

How to calculate your swim pace

Now that you know why swim pace is important, you may be wondering how to calculate it while in the water. Here are three ways to calculate your swim pace. 

Track your time and count your lengths or swim distance

The first step to calculating your swim pace is to record your times and the distances you complete while practicing in the water. In other words, when you get in the water, note the distance you cover and the amount of time it takes. Start by recording times for shorter distances. For instance, if you swim 200 meters, write down that it takes 4 minutes. 

Most pools have pace clocks situated in various locations on pool decks, which athletes use for interval training. Use the clocks or a watch to track your times. Record whether your pool is in yards or meters (each pool is different) because those distances will affect your overall pace.

Use a swim pace calculator

Once you record the total time, distance, and pool length, you can input those details into a swim pace calculator. The calculator will take the time and distance and convert it to minutes per 100 yards or 100 meters, giving you an average pace. For example, when swimming 200 meters in 4 minutes, your pace would be 2 minutes for 100 meters. 

Wear a device

Several devices on the market can help you track swim pacing. Waterproof fitness trackers will automatically track your distances, times, calories burned, and pace. Wear the device every time you are in the water so you can record your swim pace.

How to use a swim pace chart

Once you’ve determined your swim pace, use the swim pace chart to calculate how long it will take you to swim longer distances.

For example, if you swim 100 meters in 2 minutes, it should take you 4 minutes to swim 200 meters. This information can be utilized for longer distances, such as 1,000 meters or a mile swim (1,500 meters). 

Next time you get in the pool or open water, you can use your swim pace chart to hit your target fitness goals in the water. If your times are off compared to the average swim times by age, you can take several steps to improve your pace. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Interval training with shorter distances 
  • Increase rest times between sets 
  • Fitness training that builds endurance 
  • Work on swimming techniques

Why is pacing important in swimming?

For both experienced and beginner swimmers, setting a pace causes athletes to spread their effort and energy evenly across workouts or races. It prevents you from going too hard and fast (which can result in you “hitting the wall”) but can also help you swim fast enough to complete a distance in a good time.

Unlike other sports, swimmers have to factor in water resistance. The drag from the water can cause swimmers to become tired quickly. If you use a swim pace chart, you will save energy and convert your effort into faster speeds and longer distances. 

When you develop a faster swimming pace, you will be able to increase the number of calories burned while swimming. Burning more calories is great for weight loss and improving your overall speed, endurance, and fitness in the pool. 

What is a good swimming pace?

The average pace for most swimmers is 2 minutes per 100 meters. If your pace is slower, you should work on your technique, fitness training, or endurance to improve your time. 

You can also use a BMI calculator to reduce your body weight, which will reduce drag and improve overall performance in the water. 

Pool swimming pace

Swim paces change based on the amount you swim in a pool. For long swims, your pace will be slower than the pace set for short swims. Use 2 minutes per 100 meters as a benchmark to reach faster speeds for long distances.

Open water swimming pace

For open water swimming paces, 2o minutes per 100 meters is the goal. Competitive athletes aim to hit a pace under 2 minutes, but most people swim distances at a pace of 2 minutes to 2 minutes and 30 seconds. 

Summary

  • A swim pace is how long it takes to swim a set distance.
  • An average pace for 100 meters is 2 minutes. 
  • Use a swim pace chart to work out how long it will take you to swim longer distances.
  • You can also use a swim pace chart to hit your target fitness goals in the water, including burning calories and improving your overall performance.