What is the Average Time it Takes to Swim a Mile?

Reviewed by Patricia Warren
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Patricia Warren

For over a decade, Patricia Warren has served as an assistant swim coach and encouraged many swimmers to contribute best to their career in swimming. Now, she is implementing her skills and education in the areas of blogging.

What is the Average Time it Takes to Swim a Mile?

Just like any other sportsperson, swimmers are also eager to know their ability and strength, or are they really progressing or not?

That’s why this burning question of “What is the average time it should take to complete a mile?” has been prevalent among them. But there can be more than one answer to this question because many factors can play a significant role in determining the time taken by a swimmer to complete a mile.

As a swimmer, you would already know that racing in water is much more challenging than land. Maybe that’s why the mile in swim races is 6.25% shorter than an actual mile, and hence, it is not a “true mile.”

An actual mile has 1,760 yards or 1,609.3 meters, but a swimming mile is about 1,650 yards or 1,500 meters. It means that you have to swim just 1,650 yards to complete a swimming mile.

Enough talking about numbers. Let’s discuss the crucial points that can decide whether you are a slow, intermediated, or fast swimmer.

What is the Average Time to Complete a Mile?

There is no standard time fixed by the international swimming federation to swim a mile.  However, according to Olympic swimmers, it takes about 14 to 15 minutes to complete 1,650 yards.

But, this measurement cannot be the same for every swimmer. Besides, it will largely depend on the level of training and endurance of a swimmer.

A complete beginner can take nearly 45 or even 60 minutes to cover this distance. In comparison, an intermediate-level swimmer can spend 30 to 35 minutes, and for an expert or international swimmer, it is the task of about 14 to 15 minutes only.

Besides, for a beginner, swimming a mile distance can be equal to an uphill battle. However, do not get demotivated; any swimmer can achieve this milestone with daily training and hard work. Push yourself daily to do a little more.

I would suggest you try to swim a mile distance by taking a few breaks in between if needed because it would be dead-tiring for a beginner to finish it.

Record your time and aim to reduce the time to swim that distance even by seconds because a few minor changes daily can lead to a significant difference. Hopefully, one day, you will be able to step up your strength and swim enormous distances in a shorter duration of time.

As we have discussed the time taken to swim a mile based on the level of swimmers, practically no pool exists in the universe that is 1,650 yards (a swimming mile) long.

On top of that, the longest swimming pool in the world (the swimming pool of San Alfonso Del Mar resort) is also only 1107.83 yards long.

In addition, the usual size of most American pools is only 25 yards, which is known as a short course yards pool. In the United States, a 25 yards pool is the standard size for both training and competition purposes.

Therefore, if you are a pool swimmer rather than open water where you have the whole sea/ocean for swimming, you need to calculate how many laps in the pool are required to complete the distance of 1,650 yards? 

Here, a lap in the pool indicates swimming from one end to the other end of the pool.

You can find the number of times you require to swim once across the pool by dividing the distance you want to cover by the length of your pool.

Pool size Calculation Number of swimming laps
25 yards 1650 yards/25 yards 66 laps
50 meters 1500 meters/50 meters 30 laps

According to the data collected in the table, you need to swim 66 laps to complete a swimming mile (1650 yards) in a 25 yards length of the pool.

Although in the Olympics, the meter is the standard unit used for measurement, that’s why I calculated the number of laps for 50 meters or long course meter pool as well, where 30 laps are necessary for one swimming mile.

Factors that can Affect Swimming a Mile

There are so many factors that can affect your water efficiency. Hence just quickly run through them because you cannot improve yourself unless you know where you are lacking.

These are the factors that create the difference in the time to swim a mile :

1. Your Swimming Strategies

The kicking techniques you use in the water are the most crucial factor that can make or break the deal. A poor technique can cause pain and lousy performance, whereas if you are using proper techniques, you will progress with every single day.

2. Stamina

An athlete’s overall performance is primarily dependent on their stamina because more stamina leads to more energy supply to perform any task.

3. Strength

When it comes to swimming or water activities, both the lower and upper body must be strong. The advanced swimmer has the strength to swim long distances in shorter duration as they have trained their muscles quite well while training and their swimming sessions.

4. Athletic abilities

Your athletic abilities are also a major factor that will decide your speed in the water. For example, a newbie or an expert swimmer both have different skill levels and abilities. Moreover, the time taken to do the same activity can vary for both the swimmers.

You may also read Latex vs. Silicone Swim Caps.

Tips for Fast Swimming

  • Work on your breathing pattern during swim sessions.
  • Concentrate more on the posture and correct form in the water, instead of just trying to swim fast.
  • Do strength training outside the pool to strengthen your body muscles as they will help you deliver powerful strokes.
  • Set an aim for more swimming laps in one day and gradually increase the number to progress.

Final Talk

I hope our information helped you to understand the level of skill set you possess and how to bring advancement in your abilities both as a learner or an expert.

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