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Beginner Tips and Techniques for Swimming: A Step-by-Step Guide (Basic swimming skills).

a swimmer performs backstrorke in the pool
a boy swims backstroke

Welcome to ISWIM Swimming School! Whether you are new to swimming or looking to improve your skills, our comprehensive guide is here to help you master the basics. In this blog, we will cover essential swimming skills, including floating, breathing techniques, and the fundamentals of each stroke. Let's dive in and get started on your swimming journey!

Floating: The basic swimming skill

Floating is the first skill every swimmer should learn as it builds confidence and helps you get comfortable in the water. Here are some tips to help you master floating:

  1. Relax: The key to floating is to stay relaxed. Tension in your body will make it harder to float.

  2. Position: Lie back in the water with your arms extended and legs slightly apart. Your head should be back, ears in the water, and chin up.

  3. Breathing: Breathe slowly and evenly. This will help you stay calm and maintain your float.

Pro Tip: Practice floating in shallow water where you can easily stand if needed. This will help you build confidence gradually.

Additional Tips:

  • Use Visual Cues: Look up at the sky or the ceiling of the pool to maintain the correct head position.

  • Body Awareness: Spread your body weight evenly by slightly arching your back and lifting your hips towards the surface.

Breathing Techniques: The Key to Comfortable Swimming

Proper breathing techniques are crucial for efficient and comfortable swimming. Here's how to get started:

  1. Breath Control: Begin by practicing breath control outside of the water. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth.

  2. Submersion: Once you're comfortable with breath control, practice submerging your face in the water while exhaling through your mouth. Lift your head to inhale.

  3. Rhythm: Establish a breathing rhythm that matches your strokes. For example, in freestyle, breathe every two to three strokes.

Pro Tip: Use a kickboard to practice breathing techniques. This allows you to focus on your breathing without worrying about arm movements.

Additional Tips:

  • Exhale Underwater: Blowing bubbles underwater can help maintain a steady exhalation and prevent water from entering your nose.

  • Consistent Timing: Maintain a consistent breathing pattern to avoid getting winded during your swim.

Fundamentals of Each Stroke

Freestyle (Front Crawl)

Freestyle is one of the fastest and most efficient swimming strokes. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Body Position: Keep your body flat and streamlined, with your head in a neutral position.

  2. Arm Movement: Alternate your arms in a windmill motion, keeping them close to the surface.

  3. Leg Kick: Use a flutter kick, with your legs straight and toes pointed.

  4. Breathing: Turn your head to the side to breathe, ensuring one ear stays in the water. It's important to turn your whole body, including your legs, slightly to the side. This rotation helps you maintain balance and streamline, making breathing easier and more efficient.

Additional Tips:

  • High Elbows: Keep your elbows high during the recovery phase of your stroke to reduce drag.

  • Efficient Kicking: Keep your kicks small and fast to maintain a steady propulsion without tiring quickly.


Backstroke is performed on your back and is excellent for building endurance. Follow these steps:

  1. Body Position: Lie on your back with your body straight and hips high.

  2. Arm Movement: Alternate your arms in a circular motion, with your pinky finger entering the water first.

  3. Leg Kick: Use a flutter kick, similar to freestyle, but with your legs slightly deeper in the water.

  4. Breathing: Keep your face above water and breathe naturally.

Additional Tips:

  • Head Position: Keep your head still, with your eyes looking up. This helps maintain a straight body line.

  • Continuous Movement: Ensure there is no pause between strokes to maintain a smooth and continuous movement.


Breaststroke is a slower, more relaxed stroke. Here's how to do it:

  1. Body Position: Keep your body horizontal with a slight incline.

  2. Arm Movement: Pull your arms in a circular motion, pushing water backwards.

  3. Leg Kick: Perform a frog kick, bringing your heels towards your buttocks and then kicking outward and back together.

  4. Breathing: Lift your head to breathe during the arm pull phase.

Additional Tips:

  • Glide Phase: Utilize the glide phase to conserve energy and maintain a smooth stroke.

  • Symmetry: Ensure both arms and legs move symmetrically to avoid any imbalance.


Butterfly is a powerful and demanding stroke. Follow these steps:

  1. Body Position: Keep your body flat with a wave-like undulation.

  2. Arm Movement: Move both arms simultaneously in a windmill motion, pulling through the water.

  3. Leg Kick: Use a dolphin kick, with both legs moving together.

  4. Breathing: Breathe forward, lifting your head during the arm recovery phase.

Additional Tips:

  • Core Strength: Engage your core muscles to maintain a strong and efficient undulating motion.

  • Timing: Synchronize your kicks with your arm strokes for maximum propulsion.

Water Safety and Building Confidence

Safety is paramount in swimming. Here are some essential water safety tips:

  1. Supervision: Always swim with a buddy and under supervision if possible.

  2. Know Your Limits: Stay within your comfort zone and avoid pushing yourself too hard too soon.

  3. Learn to Tread Water: Practice treading water to stay afloat and conserve energy in deeper water.

Additional Tips:

  • Use Safety Gear: Equip yourself with flotation devices if you're a beginner or unsure of your swimming skills.

  • Emergency Preparedness: Familiarize yourself with basic water rescue techniques and CPR.

Building confidence in the water takes time. Celebrate small victories and practice regularly to improve your skills.

Join ISWIM Swimming School

At ISWIM Swimming School, we offer personalized swimming lessons for all ages and skill levels. Our experienced instructors are dedicated to helping you become a confident and proficient swimmer. Sign up for our classes today and take the first step towards mastering the art of swimming!

For more tips and updates, follow our blog and stay connected with us on social media. Happy swimming!

By following these beginner tips and techniques, you'll be well on your way to becoming a skilled swimmer. Remember, practice and patience are key. We look forward to seeing you at ISWIM Swimming School!

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