Christopher Denn, the proud owner and founder of Oar House Products LLC, has accumulated more than 30 years of experience in the lifeguard industry. Now creating boats that can be trusted on the open water, Christopher Denn remains committed to ensuring lifeguards can perform their best and keep others safe. One way that lifeguards improve their craft is by consistently working to improve their swimming speed. Today, Chris Denn shares his knowledge from his 40+ years of coaching age group, high school, college, and USS swimmers that will help swimmers improve their speed.
Any swimmer looking to enhance their swimming speed should first know that they should enter the water with a purpose. Many make the mistake of assuming that if they swim more frequently, they will become a faster swimmer, but it’s not enough just to swim more. Swimmers must work on their technique to improve their swimming speed. Chris Denn believes nearly 90 percent of swim speed is generated purely from practice with the other ten percent coming down to fitness levels. To improve technique, Chris Denn suggests working with a swimming coach. Advanced swimmers don’t need to meet regularly with a swimming instructor. Spacing out a few lessons to be observed allows a swim coach to identify potential areas of improvement. Mastering just one or two tiny shifts in form can make a significant difference. Newer swimmers should look to have more routine appointments. Those without access to trainers can find some great instructional videos on YouTube. Chriss Denn recommends not overcomplicating things and entering the water with one improvement goal in mind each session.
Once a swimmer starts to understand the difference between swimming more often and swimming with quality more often, they should begin to increase the number of days they are in the water. Ideally, three times a week a swimmer will be able to work on their craft. Not only will a swimmer enjoy improvements in their speed by doing this, they will also notice a notable difference in their lung capacity. When out of the pool, Chris Denn recommends spending some leisure time reading books on swimming form. There are so many great swimmers and swimming coaches that have written books that have made a tremendous impact on countless lifeguards. Visualization of the techniques learned in books can be incredibly powerful. Working to visualize what will be accomplished before diving in for a swim is a great way to enjoy more success while swimming.
Another great thing to do when out of the pool is to exercise and work on other muscles. Core strength is pivotal to swimming more efficiently. Some great core exercises include sit-ups, planks, and ab crunches. One of the tried-and-true exercises for lifeguards has been the utilization of a rowing machine. Rowing machines not only improve cardiovascular endurance but also help build back muscles. The back is an essential part of a swimmer’s body, so the isolation of the lat muscles can pay dividends in the water. When possible, it is also a good idea for swimmers looking to increase their speed in the water to run on the track. This comes down to lung capacity more than anything. The more a person can run long distances, the more likely they will be able to swim longer distances, which increases one’s ability to train for longer periods.
One thing that is quite clear with the tips provided by Chris Denn is that you have to have a passion for swimming to have a chance at increasing speed truly. The best lifeguard professionals are the ones who are passionate about their craft. When someone enjoys what they do, it isn’t overly burdensome for them to dedicate the time required to reach their goals. A true love of swimming is critical to improvement.