Swim pacing
Training > Swim

What is a good swim cadence and how can I increase mine?

Confused about swim cadence? John Wood explains what you need to know about swim cadence and how to improve it

Swim cadence (and run cadence) are very much the same as bike cadence in that you’re measuring the number of  times your arms complete strokes. The difference with swimming from cycling is that you count every individual stroke as opposed to full revolution.

Cadence is one of two variables in the swim speed equation, along with stroke length. Swim speed is equal to cadence (or stroke rate) times stroke length. Many things will affect your cadence – and stroke length – including strength, arm length, stability and mobility of your shoulders.

How can I increase the length of my swim stroke?


I’d always focus on improving your body position first before cadence, as this will reduce the amount of resistance that you’re having to overcome. This in turn may well increase your cadences anyway as the same force that you’re applying to the water with your hands and arms will be moving you faster and further.

A good stroke rate is, again, very variable depending on your physiology and stroke style. Stroke rates will vary between 55 and 90 strokes/min, and even then as an athlete looks to accelerate that cadence will change anyway. Look at it this way, the harder you push your hand back through the water, the quicker it will return to the front, so the cadence will come up without trying to ‘spin’ your arms. Just make sure there are no pauses in your stroke.


Daily deals from top retailers

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member

Karen Parnell

Hi, This looks like there is text missing?

Karen Parnell

Hi, This looks like there is text missing?


Very short faster sets like 10x25 as opposed to doing longer drawn out swims. Then as you pick the cadence up on those it will start to translate into a faster cadence in the longer swims. 

But a faster cadence is not always the best way to go. Fast cadence is great for swimmers with less upper body strength and/or shorter arms. A lower cadence seems to work best for people with more upper body strength and/or longer arms.


Back to the top