Swimming Tips to Keep an Efficient Front Crawl Stroke With Tired Arms


I recently got asked tips on how to keep a decent pace and technique during an ironman swim and prevent fatigue. So I thought I'd share a few of my own tips. This is not an exhaustive list. Contact Swim For Tri for more in depth technical tips.

  • Technique and Stroke Rate

The first big bit of advice when you start to feel tired and arms start to ache is to really focus on technique rather than solely focussing on increasing stroke rate. Increasing stroke rate is ok as long as the stroke length remains the same. Check out Swim For Tri’s article on stroke rate. and contact them for further technique advice.

  • Stroke Rate

Focus on a long stroke, from hand entering the water with arm reached out as far forward as possible, to a long stroke in the water and exiting by the hips. A good technique causes less drag and ultimately keep a stronger pace for longer. If you are a strong swimmer looking for AG selection this style of technique needs a stronger leg kick and needs to be developed/worked towards. Don’t forget the 3 pul phases - catch, pull & push

  • Body Rotation & Position

Keep a streamlined position in the water, engaging that core to help with a body rotation reach forward with your arm at the start of each stroke. Body rotation is key to develop into an efficient stroke.

  • Push back a build up of lactate

As with the other disciplines cycling and running, you need to push back that lactate build up in your body. To do this sets max efforts with a decent amount of rest… for example, a 10 x 100m with 30 sec between each set.


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