3 - What are the Basics of Swimming?

TL:DR | When you get in the pool it is literally about getting from point A to point B, but why is it so much harder than that?

3 min read
3 - What are the Basics of Swimming?

You're here on this swimming post because you either want to learn to swim better, or literally learn to swim outright from the start. In both cases this newsletter, and in particular this post will help you.

I wanted to give an intro to this swimming newsletter series, as each release builds upon the last one. Even if you find this one in particular, start here, and then move on from there. Each post's lesson stands alone and together. Just like real lessons I'd give to people.

Each lesson, each person, they are all different; However after doing it for so long I started to see patterns. On how people perceive swimming, themselves, and how they learn. Here is an introduction to swimming.

Why + Philosophy:

Many of the lessons either need to learn the how, which we will get to later, or the why behind why we do certain things. Let's start off with the why, as when you are swimming there is a lot to think about.

For starters the point of swimming is not to be able to breath, but rather the point is to move from one place to another. It is the equivalent of walking or biking, but in the water.

Once you realize that breathing should not be your focus, at least at first, then that will help you get going. I'll go into further detail in future newsletters too.

How + Physics:

Moving ironically is the easy part, even if you do the bare minimum you should at least get moving a few feet. I always say no doggy paddle, where you barely move at all, but even that is better than drowning. So when starting out just focus on safety first. Bonus tip: When learning the swim form I just have a student stand up to breath, then swim again for five feet. Repeat the process until distance has grown, or learned to breath.

I made a mnemonic to help people learn the basic steps. Now this is mainly for Front Crawl (sometimes known as freestyle in competitive circles), which is the standard-basic swimming stroke to get started. It goes like this:

  1. Legs 2. Face 3. Arms

Kicking legs straight, face down, then arms out of the water and dive them back in. Despite the last one being longer it is just one step, up and down. If you do these three things, you WILL swim, but it is easier said than done.

What + Psychology:

The reason being that you can say it, I encourage you repeat it out loud, but it not being as easy to do is that we can't multitask. Human beings are single task driven creatures, but we are really good at switching between tasks or actions.

The three step system is that of concurrent phases, that will eventually mess up. Sometimes you'll forget to kick (more common than you might think), sometimes you'll panic and lift your head, and many other times you'll smack your hands into the water. All things that will mess up your swimming.

The best thing to do is to repeat the three simple steps of swimming in your head. Legs, face, arms.

These are just the basics.

Depending on who is reading this you might think this is a lot to follow, or maybe you think it is too simple. In either case I'll be going into more detail down the line. Each step even will get it's own newsletter.

So in either case you will get the details explained. I'm glad you checked out this basic steps post!


This is advice for people to level up their swimming, or perhaps get started in the first place. While you swim you should make sure you are doing so in a public facility with a lifeguard on duty for safety.

Related Articles

Be a Swimming Generalist
2 min read
3 Steps, 3 P's, and 5 Seconds
2 min read
Panther, Lion, and Dolphin
2 min read
A Jack of All Swimming Strokes
2 min read
63 - You Can’t Fight the Water
2 min read


🎉 You've successfully subscribed to PolyInnovator LLC | Official Website for Dustin Miller!