Tips on the 500 Meter Freestyle

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In the pool, speed rules. Competitive swimming caters to the fastest by showcasing the 50- and 100-freestyle events. However, you can excel in the sport without being a speedster. The 500 free requires endurance as well as speed. Swimmers must churn through the water for 20 lengths of the pool. It requires so much focus and effort that swimmers need teammates to wave numbers near the wall to let them know how many laps they have completed. By following a few key tips, you can improve your swim times and give yourself a better chance at victory.

Make Good Turns

  • Making good turns plays a key role in the 500, according to USA Swimming. A swimmer can pick up or lose crucial seconds during turns. After all, swimmers must make 19 of them during the race. Maintain control during the flip. Use a strong leg kick into and out of the walls. Resist the natural tendency to pause or slow down as you come to the wall.

Conserve Energy

  • The 500 freestyle requires good endurance and energy conservation. If you zap your energy, you will not finish strong. Start with a few fast laps to stay near the front, but you must slow your pace after the 100-meter mark. You should stay with the slower pace through 300 meters. This will ensure that you have enough for a strong finish. You also should save your legs by backing off on the leg kick during the middle part of each lap.

Stay Focused

  • The 500 freestyle takes more than five minutes even for the best swimmers, and that leaves plenty time for you to lose focus. You may experience boredom, frustration, excitement or pain during practice or a race, all times where you can lose focus. During a race, block out all potential distractions and focus on staying with your strategy, and monitoring how your body feels at different points in the race. To stay motivated during practice laps, distance swimmers should compete with teammates. Find someone who will challenge you and swim with that person for each practice. If you swim your practice laps alone, your mind may drift, and you may not push yourself as much.

Maintain Good Form

  • You need to make your strokes count by maximizing the impact. Stay long in the water, which means stretching your body from fingertip to toe before you perform the catch, which is the pull-down phase of your arm stroke. Make sure your hand enters the water directly in front of the shoulder, and push your fingertips down while your elbow stays high out of the water. Avoid allowing a flat palm to push down. This may happen if you do not keep your elbow high during the catch, and pushing down with a flat palm will place unnecessary strain on the shoulder and minimize the potential for good torso rotation. Good rotation is crucial to success because it lightens the workload of the shoulders. Good rotation begins with turning the hip and shoulders in a uniform manner before the catch.

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