How to Build Endurance as a Beginner Swimmer

I’ve been a swimmer for about five years now, and I still love every minute of it. Swimming is one of the best things you can do for your body, mind, and mood. 

There’s something about getting into the water that’s relaxing and soothing—it really helps me chill out after a stressful day. 

But swimming isn’t just great for your physical health: It can also help develop mental strength and endurance. 

That’s why I always tell people who want to get started with swimming to start small with their goals: If you’re just starting out as an adult or have never been in the pool before (or even if you have but need some tips), here are 12 ways that will help build up your endurance so that you don’t burn out too soon while training!

How to Build Swimming Endurance
Focus on proper swimming techniques.
Incorporate swimming into your fitness routine.
Overcome common challenges as a beginner swimmer.
Build confidence in the water.
Choose the right pool and swim class for beginners.

1. Swim More

To build your endurance, you need to swim more. The more time you spend in the pool, the better your body will get at swimming and therefore the faster your times will be. You can swim laps or do other types of workouts (like kick sets) if you want, but just making sure that every time you go swimming is an opportunity for improvement will make all the difference in how quickly it happens!

If possible, try to find somewhere with lanes where no one else uses them so that there won’t be any distraction from other swimmers when working on improving technique or speed work with drills like flip turns. 

If this isn’t possible at first then don’t worry about it too much; just focus on doing lots of practice strokes per lap instead of worrying about where everyone else is going when they pass by us during our practice sessions.

If you’re just starting out with swimming, it’s important to learn the basics of swimming techniques. Our comprehensive guide on swimming techniques for beginners will help you understand the fundamental skills and strokes to improve your swimming performance.

2. Take It Slow

To build endurance, you need to take it slow. You don’t want to push yourself too hard or overdo it in the beginning. If you feel dizzy or tired, stop swimming and rest for a few minutes before continuing with your workout.

Start with a gentle paceBegin your journey by setting a comfortable and manageable pace.
Gradually increase intensitySlowly ramp up the intensity of your activities to avoid overexertion.
Listen to your bodyPay attention to any signs of fatigue or discomfort and adjust your pace accordingly.
Focus on proper techniquePrioritize learning and mastering correct form and technique to prevent injuries.
Take regular breaksAllow yourself time to rest and recover during your training sessions.
Stay consistentMaintain a regular workout schedule to build endurance progressively over time.
Set realistic goalsEstablish achievable goals that align with your fitness level and track your progress.
Seek guidance from professionalsConsult with trainers or coaches who can provide personalized advice and support.
Use appropriate equipment and attireInvest in quality gear, such as proper shoes or attire, to enhance your performance and safety.
Stay motivated and enjoy the journeyFind ways to stay inspired and have fun throughout your fitness journey.

This table provides a data-driven summary of the recommended approach for beginners, emphasizing the importance of starting slow, gradually increasing intensity, focusing on technique, and maintaining consistency. It also suggests using appropriate equipment and seeking guidance from professionals while staying motivated and enjoying the journey.

3. Get Comfortable in the Water

Once you’ve learned to swim, the next step is getting comfortable in the water. This might sound like an obvious thing, but it’s important to remember that even experienced swimmers can have trouble if they aren’t used to being in the water. 

If your goal is endurance swimming and not just speed or strength training, then this step is essential for building up your stamina and endurance.

Here are some things that will help:

  • Learn how to breathe while swimming (this doesn’t mean holding your breath)
  • Learn how not only get used being underwater but also enjoy it!
  • Get comfortable floating on your back and front (you’ll need this for doing laps around a pool)

Are you looking to incorporate swimming into your fitness routine as a beginner? Our article on how to incorporate swimming into your fitness routine as a beginner provides valuable tips and strategies to maximize the health benefits of swimming and enhance your overall fitness level.

4. Know Your Strokes

Learning the different strokes is important for a number of reasons. First, you will be able to do better in races if you know how to use each stroke effectively. 

Second, knowing your strokes will help improve your technique as well as make sure that every stroke is being done correctly and efficiently. 

Thirdly, learning all four strokes will make for a more confident swimmer because they have more options available when it comes time for competition or just practicing at home (or the pool).

swimming stroke
Swimming Strokes

5. Rest Between Sets

Resting between sets is an important part of your workout, but it can be tricky to figure out how much rest you need. You have to listen to your body! If you’re feeling tired and out of breath, take more time between each set; if not, try resting for less time or even skipping the rest period altogether.

Good place to start: 1 minute (or more)

Swimming as a beginner can come with its own set of challenges. Don’t let these obstacles discourage you! Check out our helpful guide on how to overcome common challenges in swimming as a beginner for practical advice and solutions to overcome any hurdles you may encounter during your swimming journey.

6. Think Pace, Not Distance

When you’re just starting out, it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers. But don’t worry about time and distance–just swim! 

When you’re first learning how to swim, it can be helpful to have some kind of goal that keeps you motivated and focused. 

For example, if your goal is simply “swim for 30 minutes today,” then stop when the clock hits 30 minutes (or whatever interval works best with your schedule). 

But if speed or stroke technique are important factors in achieving this goal (and they should be), then keep these considerations in mind:

Pace yourself throughout each session by varying your pace between slow and fast depending on where you are at in the workout. 

If possible, try using a waterproof watch with an audible alarm so that when it goes off every five minutes or so during a longer session like this one we’ve outlined here today; this will help keep things from getting too monotonous while still providing enough structure so there’s no confusion about what needs doing next.

Focus on maintaining a consistent paceEmphasize the importance of maintaining a steady pace throughout your training sessions.
Use a heart rate monitor for better controlUtilize a heart rate monitor, such as the Garmin Forerunner 945, to monitor and control your intensity.
Implement interval trainingIncorporate interval training techniques, like those supported by the Fitbit Versa 3, to improve pace.
Prioritize perceived exertionGauge your effort level using the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion scale to maintain an optimal pace.
Track progress with pace metricsUtilize tracking devices such as the Apple Watch Series 7 to monitor and analyze your pace performance.

This table highlights the importance of focusing on pace rather than distance for effective training. It suggests using tools like heart rate monitors, interval training techniques, and perceived exertion to help maintain a consistent pace. Additionally, it recommends tracking and analyzing pace metrics using devices such as the Garmin Forerunner 945, Fitbit Versa 3, and Apple Watch Series 7.

7. Use A Pull Buoy For Drills

A pull buoy is a flotation device that you wear around your waist to keep your legs horizontal while swimming. This allows you to concentrate on other aspects of your stroke, such as arm stroke or breathing technique.

There are many different types of pull buoys available for purchase, but the most common type has two handles and can be used either in front or behind the body. 

For beginners who are just learning how to use one properly, I recommend getting a smaller sized one–about 8 inches wide by 18 inches long–that floats flat against your body when worn correctly (with no air trapped inside).

8. Mix Up Your Workout

Mix up your workouts. Alternate between different strokes and types of equipment, as well as locations and times of day. You can also try working out with a friend or in a group to help keep you motivated and accountable.

It’s important to vary the intensity of your workouts too; if you’re always swimming at the same pace, your body will get used to it (and therefore less efficient) over time–so mix up the speed!

Building confidence in the water is crucial for beginner swimmers. Our article on building confidence in the water: tips for beginner swimmers offers valuable insights and techniques to boost your self-assurance, enabling you to enjoy swimming and progress at your own pace.

9. Master Your Breathing Technique

The most important element of swimming is your breathing technique, as it can make or break your endurance. Breathing is a natural reflex, but you can improve it with practice and focus. The best way to do this is with a partner or coach who can help you learn how best to use your breath in the water.

If you’re working on improving your endurance as a beginner swimmer, then mastering your breathing technique should be one of the first things on your list!

10. Strengthen Your Core Muscles Outside of the Pool

If you’ve ever swam in a pool and felt like your body was turning into Jell-O, then this section is for you. Swimming requires strong core muscles to maintain proper alignment and balance in the water–and if those aren’t strong enough, it can lead to injury or even exhaustion. 

To strengthen these muscles outside of practice, try doing exercises like planks (holding yourself up on hands and toes), squats with weights held at chest level (pushups), or crunches with weights behind head (reverse sit-ups).

11. Do Dryland Exercises to Improve Your Technique and Endurance

Dryland exercises are a great way to improve your technique and endurance. Try these examples:

  • push-ups and pull-ups (for both arms)
  • crunches and sit-ups (for core strength)
  • squats (to build lower body strength)

You should do dryland exercises at least once a week if you want them to make a difference in your swimming. 

The more often you do them, the more benefits you’ll see! Dryland exercises work almost every muscle in your body–from those involved with breathing to those responsible for moving your limbs through water. 

As such, they’re an important part of any beginner’s training regimen because they help develop overall fitness while also improving specific skills like kicking technique or stroke length efficiency.

Choosing the right pool and swim class is essential for beginners who want to develop their swimming skills effectively. Discover how to make the right choice with our comprehensive guide on how to choose the right pool and swim class for beginners, which covers important factors to consider and provides practical tips for finding the perfect swimming environment for your needs.

12. Don’t Burn Out With Too Much Training Too Soon

If you want to get better at swimming, you need to train – but not too much or too hard. You should also avoid training too fast and for too long as well. This is important because if your body isn’t used to the exercise it can lead to injury and burnout.

Start with a manageable training loadBegin with a moderate training load, such as 3-4 sessions per week, to avoid overwhelming your body.
Gradually increase training volumeIncrease your training volume by no more than 10% per week to prevent excessive strain and burnout.
Incorporate rest days and active recoveryInclude rest days and active recovery sessions, utilizing techniques like foam rolling or yoga, for rest.
Listen to your body’s signalsPay attention to your body’s feedback and adjust training intensity or duration accordingly.
Utilize recovery tools and devicesIncorporate recovery tools like the Theragun PRO or NormaTec Recovery Boots to aid in muscle recovery.

This table outlines a data-driven approach to prevent burnout and achieve long-term success in training. It emphasizes starting with a manageable training load and gradually increasing volume while incorporating rest days and active recovery. Additionally, it suggests listening to your body’s signals and utilizing recovery tools and devices such as the Theragun PRO or NormaTec Recovery Boots for enhanced muscle recovery.


Swimming is a great way to get in shape and stay healthy, but it’s also one of the most challenging sports out there. 

If you’re a beginner swimmer looking to improve your endurance, these tips will help get you started on the right track. 

Once you feel comfortable with these techniques and have mastered some basic strokes like freestyle, backstroke or breaststroke (or maybe even all three!), then it’s time for step two: increasing distance!

Further Reading

Now, let’s move on to the FAQs section:


What are some beginner-friendly swimming drills to improve endurance?

Some beginner-friendly swimming drills to improve endurance include:

  • Freestyle laps with a focus on maintaining a steady pace.
  • Kickboard drills to strengthen leg muscles and improve kicking technique.
  • Pull buoy drills to enhance arm and upper body strength.

How often should I swim to build endurance?

To build endurance, it’s recommended to swim at least three to four times per week. Consistency is key in gradually increasing your swimming duration and intensity.

Can strength training help improve swimming endurance?

Yes, incorporating strength training exercises into your routine can improve swimming endurance. Exercises such as weightlifting, resistance training, and core workouts can enhance muscle strength and overall stamina.

Is interval training effective for improving swimming endurance?

Yes, interval training is an effective method for improving swimming endurance. Alternating between high-intensity and recovery periods during your swim workouts can help increase your overall endurance capacity.

How long does it take to see improvements in swimming endurance?

The time it takes to see improvements in swimming endurance varies for each individual. With consistent training and proper technique, noticeable improvements can be seen within a few weeks to a couple of months.