What is SWOLF and how will it make your front crawl swimming more efficient?

Swim + Golf = Swolf

Swimming is as much about efficiency as it is about power output.

More efficient swimmers are able to swim faster while using fewer strokes per lap. One way to calculate a swimmer’s efficiency is to find his or her swimming golf or “SWOLF” score.

The SWOLF score combines a swimmer’s 50 metre swim time with the number of strokes he or she takes.

Swim + Golf = Swolf

The swimming equation applied

Stroke counts and rates of top swimmers

Top swimmers 1.15-1.6 seconds per full stroke cycle

Sprinters between 1.0-1.2 seconds

Phelps & Thorpe have rates of 1.5-1.6 seconds per full arm cycle

So do they glide?

So what is it they are doing?

•Getting a high elbow position

•Hold the water

•Utilising a powerful FC swim stroke

•Drive the body over the hand and arm that have just purchased the water

•This equals distance per stroke

•A good balance of stroke count and stroke rate for their event

SWOLF – Swim Efficiency

Swimming golf is a test of technical ability. It requires you to juggle the skills required for taking long strokes with the skills required for faster stroke tempo.

Swimming Golf can be used as a benchmark to indicate technique improvement over a period of time

This simple swimming drill will help swimmers develop:

  1. Better swimming technique. Placing value on distance per stroke, the swimmer will adapt their stroke,

  2. reducing drag and improving technique.

  3. Improved efficiency: Swimming efficiency is essential for success, as an inefficient stroke is slow and tiresome. Combing a technical and performance aspect in the score of the drill, swimmers further enhance efficiency.

  4. Sense of pace: Many swimmers have difficulty properly pacing their swimming races. Poor pacing can impair performance and increase injury risk

3 Ways to get faster

1.Less strokes / same time

2.More strokes / less time

3.Less strokes / less time

3 drills to practice which help

1. Swim over a barrel

2. Power Push

3. Bodyroll

Swim golf set

Focus on something different on different repeats –

•Longer strokes

•Faster strokes

•Higher elbows

•More bodyroll

•Less / more kicking

•Catching the water better


Note the results. Technique is more important than brute force. Many sports rely on ground reaction force for performance, but swimming requires precise technique

How do you swim faster then?

The quickest way to increase your swimming stroke speed and freestyle technique is by learning how to decrease drag and inefficiency and not by increasing power.

•The drills and instructions shown can be used whether you are coaching, preparing for triathlon swimming, improving your swim stroke or just learning to swim.

An efficient swim technique for crawl swimming begins and ends with proper body position, streamlining and balance.

•Learning swim efficiency techniques require incorporating swimming awareness in swimming drills and workouts.

•The examples of bad swimmers juxtaposed with examples of good swimmers will help you see how to improve your own crawl technique.

Find out how to swim more efficiently so you're using less energy and swimming faster with less effort!

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