What is the average swimming speed?

The average swimmer can move at a speed of about 2 miles per hour, which is about the same as taking 56 seconds to swim a 50 metre length of a pool. For comparison, Michael Phelps, the aquatic champ, swims at a speedy 6 miles per hour, according to ESPN. So, if you want to give him a run for his money, you know what to be aiming for!

swimming in the pool checking speed

What affects swimming speed?

Swimming speed is dependent on a few things. The physical fitness of the swimmer is a major factor of course, but swimming speed can also vary greatly depending on the type of swimming stroke used. If you’re looking to beat your personal best (PB), the front crawl is the fastest swimming style to choose. You may not be able to get up to Phelps-standard but putting in hard work and training means a good swimmer can hit speeds of 4 miles per hour doing the forward stroke. 

Water conditions also affect swimming speed. The temperature of the swimming pool can affect your breathing and therefore your speed, so if your pool is used for activities other than competitive swimming and you really want to be hitting those higher speeds, it may be worth seeking out a more specialised pool to swim in so the conditions are just right.

How to swim faster - Top Tips for increasing your swimming speed

If you want to increase your swimming speed try breaking your target speed and distance into small chunks. Try to hit your target in these small bursts and keep building and repeating until you can eventually swim your target distance at your target speed. It’s about making it a more manageable challenge! Check out some more of our top swimming tips for beginners here.