How Long Does It Take To Swim A Mile?

How Long Does It Take To Swim A Mile?

Last updated on March 1st, 2023 at 10:37 pm

If you’re new to swimming or want to become more serious about your swimming workouts, timing yourself is an excellent way to check your progress.

One of the best ways to mark your progress is to compare your times to other swimmers. Knowing how long it takes to swim a mile can help.

man swimming in the ocean

How long does it take to swim a mile?

Exactly how long it takes to swim a mile depends on several factors, and swimming times will always vary from person to person.

However, on average, someone who is new to swimming can generally swim a mile in about 45 to 50 minutes. Swimmers with more experience can usually cover that distance in between 30 and 35 minutes, and professional or advanced swimmers can usually swim a mile in about 25 minutes.

Exceptional swimmers can often swim a mile in even less time.

closeup of man swimming in a pool

What affects swimming speeds?

Many things affect how quickly you can swim a mile. For example, where you swim makes a big difference. If you’re swimming in open water, your time can increase by as much as 10 minutes.

When you swim in a pool, the water is calm, and you don’t have any distractions from weather, rough waves or currents, or even fish or other water creatures.

In open water, however, you may need to contend with all these factors.

When swimming in the ocean, the high salinity level of the water can also inhibit your swimming speeds.

In addition, whether you’re in the ocean, a lake, or any other natural body of water, you may find yourself swimming in water that’s colder than that of a swimming pool.

Swimming in cold water can cause your muscles to tighten up, which means you will need to exert more strength in order to swim.

woman swimming in cold water

This leads to faster fatigue and can greatly increase your swimming time. Swimmers who plan to swim in cold water can use a wetsuit, but these suits aren’t always as aerodynamic as other swimsuits.

Which stroke you use to swim the mile can also change how quickly you swim. The breaststroke, for example, is a slower stroke, and you might find that your swimming speed decreases by almost half.

However, the speed of each stroke will also depend on what type of stroke you’re most comfortable using. People who normally swim the breaststroke will naturally swim it more quickly.

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Physical fitness and stamina level also change how quickly you swim a mile, which is reflected in the various times above.

If you’re new to swimming or don’t swim on a regular schedule, you might not have built up the specific muscles required for the sport. This means your overall swimming times will be slower.

Lacking the muscles required for swimming also means that you will need to work a bit harder to propel yourself through the water, and this can decrease your overall stamina, which in turn results in a slower swimming time.

Men also tend to swim a bit faster than women because they are usually taller. However, this also depends on the particular swimmer and which stroke they prefer.

For example, women usually excel at swimming strokes that utilize leg strength, while men are often better at strokes that require more upper-body strength.

An experienced swimmer can swim a mile in around 30 minutes.

How can I increase my swimming speed?

The best way to increase your swimming speed is to practice regularly. Plan a swimming schedule and stick to it. Start slowly at first. You may not want to swim a full mile right away.

Instead, swim laps, a quarter mile, or a half mile. This will help you gradually build muscles and increase your stamina level.

As you swim, consider your form. Each swimming stroke requires a specific form and working on how you hold your body, what shape your hands form as they cut through the water, and how you move can help you conserve energy and make more efficient movements.

This will help you stretch your stamina and can lead to much faster swimming times.

It’s also important to think about how you will breathe as you swim. Again, each swimming stroke offers different opportunities for breathing as you duck above and below the water.

underwater view of woman swimming in a pool

Working on your breathing can help you take more efficient breaths that don’t interrupt your stroke flow as much.

This can also help you hold your breath for longer, so you may not need to take as many breaths.

You may also want to consider exercising in different ways to increase your overall swim times. Although swimming offers the best practice, other exercise routines can help you focus on areas of strength or stamina that need more work.

Running or another cardio exercise, for example, can increase your stamina. Weight training can help you strengthen your muscles.

Yoga can increase your flexibility, stretching muscles and allowing you to move more freely.

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