hey /fit/ I recently got access to a swimming pool, and I thought I might make the best of it. I like swimming, but I only do it casually.
How do I get into swimming as cardio? What swimming styles should I do, and how long/fast?
i use to be a good swimmer, just do freestyle in 100m increments if you can the other strokes are good to learn but if you just want cardio then you could do that, but make sure by the end of it you know freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly
I would stick with freestyle and breaststroke, maybe some backstroke if you're comfortable with it. Stay away from fly unless you've swam competitively before, otherwise your technique will be shit anyway.
You can also do some sidestroke and dolphin kick drills and add kick/pull drills as well.
A good simple routine would be to do swim/kick/pull/swim sets without stopping between any of them. Using a kickboard for the kick drill should give you plenty of time to recover.
What's the length of the pool and are there other swimmers or a lifeguard around? You might want to do some underwater drills to build up lung capacity but only do this if supervised.
Join a swim club. Seriously, there's no reason for a casual swimmer to be practicing fly. It's the most technique dependent stroke and without proper technique you won't be able to last long enough to really work on cardio.
Plus, you'll look absolutely ridiculous splashing around the pool trying to complete 25 yard fly sets.
Try moving up to 50 meters then. And invest in a kickboard and a set of pull paddles and buoy, it won't cost much.
If you have access to an Olympic length pool then I'm sure there are swim clubs that train there. You might consider joining one or if you don't want to/it doesn't coincide with your schedule, maybe sign up for a couple sessions to get tips on technique and a baseline of were you stand in comparison to others.
Freestyle is fine if you're just doing it for cardio but swimming well is a pretty nice skill to have and you might want to pick up backstroke and breaststroke.
Plus, different strokes will allow you to do different kinds of sets/drills. Just like the pull/kick drills, doing backstroke between freestyle sprint sets is a good way to keep moving while also allowing you to recover for the next set.
Definitely get a kickboard. Again, it makes for great slow down sets and also allows you to focus solely on your kicking technique. This is why pull paddles and a buoy are good ideas too.
Swim clubs almost certainly won't be free but they usually operate as non profit clubs so the fees are typically very modest. The biggest problem is that they can keep really terrible hours and you might not want to commit to that long term. It still might be a good idea to join one for a month or two while you're getting started, memberships are usually monthly, just to get some pointers on technique.
Its almost impossible to learn to swim properly without someone watching you and telling you what you're doing wrong. If the hours are a pain then you can just start swimming on your own again after getting the basics down.
I'm a pretty good swimmer and runner. My current times are fairly close to my HS times when I was top 30 in breaststroke and top 10 in the 800m track event in California, which has really competitive track and swimming programs.
To answer your question, I don't balance swimming/running and lifting. I'm 5'9" and 137lbs. Forever a manlet but I'm fast on land and in water.
I'm sure you could maintain a balance if that's what you were going for though. If you're the OP and you don't have your technique down then you could be working a lot harder then you have to and it could be making you much more sore/tired. I imagine swimming would actually be a great complement to lifting since it stretches you out so well and helps maintain flexibility.
Not OP, just trying to add lifting in the mix but it's hard
Problem is I can only swim from 4pm to 6 and lift from 8 to 10. Guess I'll have to make sacrifices with that shitty schedule.