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Like many sports, swimming can be either casual or serious, but even the most relaxed swimmer hopes to improve over time. It takes regular practice to improve your swimming skills, but they won't get better if you simply repeat the same mistakes every time you step into the pool. You need to apply principled techniques to start swimming your best.

Swim regularly. Routine swim practice several times a week helps improve swimming skills more quickly than longer sessions which take place with less frequency.

Use specific swimming drills in your practice sessions. Try to swim the same amount of distance each practice session and utilize the same methods and drills. This should apply to the way you leave the wall and conduct your turns as much as it does the particular techniques of the strokes you want to improve.

Time your swimming with a waterproof watch or by watching the clocks visible at most public swimming pools. Set goals for yourself depending how quickly you can swim a given distance, and then work on improving those times.

Try the Finis Swimmers Snorkel which allows a swimmer of any ability to relax in the water and concentrate on body balance, rotation and alignment by eliminating the complicated breathing motion.

Incorporate flippers in your swim practice. While you shouldn't use them all the time, they do help perfect your body position and strengthen your leg muscles. When you remove them, try to maintain the body position they give: you'll find that your speed and technique both improve. 

The Finis Wave Monofin and Finis Rapid Monofin are a great source of fun and entertainment while teaching children and adults the correct dolphin / butterfly kicking technique.

Record your swimming with a video camera. It allows you to study your form and identify areas which can use improvement. Some swimming pools (especially those in universities or with serious swimming programmes) are set up to record swimmers, but even if they aren't, you can still tape your swim training sessions with just a video camera and a helpful friend.

Watch your hand movements as they enter the water while you are swimming. You want to slice them in like knives and drive them in right about at your eye-line, then drive them forward through the water from there. This will improve the efficiency of your swimming stroke. Cupping your hands also allows you to pull yourself through the water--if you leave your fingers spread out, you lose valuable traction.

Zoggs flexi paddles are the first swim paddles created for all swimmers whether recreational or performance and set new standards in product function and safety. The flexible Vylux is not hard or sharp like conventional paddles and is designed to allow the user to create the hands natural contour which improves stroke technique whilst reducing the risk of shoulder strain and injury.

Kick boards are a very handy swim training aid for advanced swimmers and beginner swimmers alike. Typically made from high-density foam, kick boards allow swimmers to use only their legs as they swim. There are many different uses for kick boards and many different ways to use them.

Choose a kick board that fits you comfortably. It should be wide enough that your arms can rest on it comfortably without rounding your shoulders.

Grip the kick board with both hands at the top and hold it just under your chin in the water. Alternatively, you can hold it just ahead of your forehead and keep your face in the water. Some people like to use outstretched arms, but this position is hard to maintain for longer workouts.

Focus on your kick when using the kick board in your work out. Kick boards take your arm stroke out of the equation so that you can focus only on your legs and perfect your kick stroke. Training with a kick board is particularly helpful for perfecting the dolphin kick. Use a kick board to extend your workout beyond the limitations of your arms.

For your gym training sessions try a heart rate monitor to control the intensity of your activity by way of an audible and visual alarm. The unit will bleep when you are exercising too hard, or too lightly. A heart rate monitor will help you to manage a constant effort throughout a training session, thus vastly improving you total training time and quality.