Establishing a Base
For new swimmers, here is the first assignment: just get in the water. Before you get into the complicated stuff — drills, techniques, and equipment — just go to the pool and start swimming. A typical health club pool has lanes that are 25 yards long. One lap is a trip from one end to the other and back — that is, 50 yards.
The first time you swim from one end to the other, you will be surprised at how difficult it is, but don't be discouraged. If you are a runner, perhaps you remember how tough it was the first time you tried it. It took a monumental effort to get to the end of the block, yet you survived that start and gradually built your strength and stamina. Swimming is no different. It's tough but you will adapt and grow stronger in your new discipline.
What you are aiming for is comfort in the venue. Just swim back and forth in the lane, resting for five to ten seconds when you reach an end.
Your goal right at first is to be able to swim ten to fifteen minutes without stopping, or with only a five- to ten-second rest between laps (from one end of the pool to the other and back).
Being able to swim for that long will give you the confidence to begin your serious swim training program. Swimming two to three times a week, it should take you one to two weeks to reach that comfort level.
Wake Up, Muscles
As with any new exercise, you will be using muscles in your introduction to swimming that you haven't used before. It is normal to experience some soreness in the arms and shoulders. You will also take this base-establishing period to get used to swimming with your face in the water, most likely the first time you have done so. Always remember to warm up with five to ten minutes of light swimming before you start your laps.