One of the most common misconceptions in swimming is that if I swing my arms and kick my legs quick enough, I will go faster in the water. This simply isn’t true. How fast you move your arms does not directly relate to how fast a swimmer you are. There are many variables that determine speed in the water, and one of the most vital is efficiency.
A good measure of efficiency would be to add your stroke count + your lap time. The lower the score the better! The trick is to optimize both, and you can use the Tempo Trainer (TT) to help. While doing freestyle set the TT to 0.95 seconds. This setting will seem quite long for most swimmers, but that is the idea:
Lengthen your stroke; reach out as far as you can and stretch your shoulder; grab the water with your hand and forearm and push it past your hips; roll your core from side to side; keep a strong and steady kick.
0.95 seconds may seem like a long time between arm pulls, so use this time to think about how your body is moving through the water. Find your stroke and get comfortable with it. See how you can fine-tune it to make it faster. If you had set the TT at a faster rate, your stroke would be rushed and you would actually end up swimming slower in the water. Stay smooth and stay fast with a longer tempo.
Other good Tempo Trainer information available on the Total Immersion forums: