So I'm a newbie swimmer who...I think...just figured out how to freestyle semi-acceptibly...sort of. My style is closer to doggie style with flapping arms and a bobbing head.
My question is...how much time should it take me to swim a mile? Currently, it takes me two hours...haha.
"Should" is very relative... I'm not sure there's a correct answer.
At my swimming peak (15 years ago), I could mantain a sub-minute per 100 yard pace indefinitely. Now I'm at more of a minute and a half per hundred. That would have put me under 17:30 back in the day, and closer to 30 minutes now. The people I'm swimming with in preparation for a triathlon are all closer to 45-60 minutes for a mile.
Here are some general pointers that may help you a lot with your speed:
1. Body rotation. Much of the freestyle technique is based around the concept of rolling your body from side to side as you swim. Essentially, as you are swimming the shoulder of the arm that is recovering out of the water should be pointed up at the ceiling, and the shoulder of the arm that is pulling through the water should be pointed at the bottom of the pool. You roll your whole body from side to side as you stroke with your arms... kind of like there is a poll going from the top of your head and coming out your bottom. This allows you to breath to the side, rather then in front of you.
2. Body position. Your body should remain flat... paralell to the bottom of the pool or the ceiling. If you swim through the water with your head upright... your feet tend to drop. So instead of just the top of your head and your shoulders pushing against the water... your entire chest, waist and thights are pushing through. This requires a LOT more effort for the same amount of speed.
3. Turns. If you are swimming in a pool... a LOT of time is lost on the walls. Doing a flip turn is ideal... but you can still improve a lot without it if you focus on a good streamline push off the wall. When you push off, your arms should be "hand over hand" with your fingers pointing toward the opposite wall, positioned directly above the top of your head. Your upper arms should be squeezing your ears, and you should keep everthing as straight and rigid as possible. When you push off, this should let you cut through the water, and you'll go a LOT further with your push and kick through the water to the surface then you would otherwise. You'd be suprised how much more speed you get with less energy expended.
Swimming is much more about technique then fitness and raw athletic ability. I'm 40-50 pounds overweight, and by FAR the slowest runner in our group... but due to 14 years of competitive swimming growing up I can still swim a LOT further and faster then some of the guys who are running half marathons in great physical shape.
Now obviously being in shape helps... but refining your technique will help a LOT more at first.
First, I just want to say how proud you should be of yourself! The fact that you're getting out there and trying says alot. Back to your question - Swimming time in 1 mile. Easy - look up last years recorded times on the competitions website, assuming this 1 mile is for competition. You can view the Events website and generally they have competitors recorded times. 1st place is where everyone wants to be. Now, if you're doing 1 mile simply for fun or personal record time, well then thats just up to you. And no matter what, don't for one second think that you can't ever be number 1! Every fast swimmer started where you are now, and believe me it takes a long time to perfect a stroke. Good Luck!
I'm kinda like you. I was always able to stay afloat but I am finally learning to swim at age 38. Fortunately, I work with a former competitive swimmer and former swim coach (same guy). He has given me a few very valuable tips that seem like small changes but yield dividends in my performance. So I think my best advice would be to pay someone to coach you for several sessions unless you are lucky enough to work with one!
I can't list and explain every tip I've received without beginning to write a short novel so I'll share the one that has had the biggest impact on me - when to begin your breath on the freestyle stroke (assuming your face is beginning parallel to the pool/lake bottom surface and under water). Turn your head to begin your breath when your scooping hand is in line with your shoulder below your body - if you drew a vertical line from your shoulder straight down to the pool/lake bottom surface this line would be perpendicular from your body; your hand should be in this same perpendicular line. Then, don't turn your head back under water until the same hand is almost beginning a new stroke - just before the hand enters the water again. What this did for me was lengthen the time I was able to draw a long and easy breath.
Currently, I breath every 2 strokes at a very easy and slow pace so that I can concentrate on body mechanics and the "feel" of the water. As I improve, my distance, timing, and speed should improve.
Hopefully, I'll eventually be able to comfortably go every 3 strokes with a breath so that I can practice sighting the end point of the swim.
Best wishes and good luck.
swimming is a fantastic sport! Congrats on trying it out, and keep with it! As fas as simple swimming advice- you recieved some great advice and I totally agree with the first post, that head and body rotation is key in freestyle. What I tell my swimmers when coaching is keep the water level just above your goggles, right in the middle of your forehead, if you keep your head down too far when swimming, it brings your bottom up and it's sticking out of the water, and if the water level is to low on your face it brings your bottom down and then you're dragging your legs. Look straight ahead where you're headed, not at the bottom of the pool...Also breathing, making sure you breathe from your armpit, just rotating your head to the side(whichever side feels more comfortable) and then putting it back to where it was. I think the easiest way to practice this before is do it out of the pool, rotating your arms and breathing, and also holding on to the side of the pool and practicing breathing and keeping the water level at your goggles.
Also arm rotation, think of your arm as a long paddle. When your arms enter the water, bringing your hand straight down doesn't help you go anywhere in the water. Not a windmill rotation- arms should enter, then bring your arm thumb up, under your body and exit the water by your hip!! Not your side....you can also practice this out of water to get a feel for everything!
Hope this wasn't too confusing...Good luck and keep up the work!!