SWOLF (Swim Golf): Everything About This Swimming Measure


Today, I will try to explain almost everything about the SWOLF (Swim Golf), what it is, why it is important, and what is good Swolf score.

In today’s world an incredible number of fitness monitoring devices and applications are available for amateur fitness enthusiasts to track and analyse every movement of their exercise, be it duration, distance, cadence, heart rate and more.

Most of these fitness trackers can record and display data of exercises performed over land with reasonable accuracy.

However same is not true for swimmers.

Few average fitness devices can survive the rigours of being immersed under deep water, let alone perform accurately. Hence swimmers have to depend on dedicated swimming trackers that come at a premium if they are looking for lasting service and accuracy.

Most of these devices provide a swim specific metric that is known by SWOLF Score.

What is SWOLF Score?

SWOLF Score is a measure of swimming efficiency and is calculated by combining your stroke count with the time taken to cover a specific distance in water. Commonly referred to by swimmers as Swim Golf, the objective of this measurement is to lower your SWOLF score which reflects increased stroke efficiency.

Why is SWOLF Important?

The idea of SWOLF score is to take fewer strokes while covering a particular swimming distance.

This can be achieved by simply swimming faster but can also be achieved by taking fewer strokes and gliding along in the water while actually swimming slower.

However the actual health benefit comes into play only when the time factor is introduced and the distance is covered in lesser time with improved efficiency, thus requiring a better swimming technique.

Hence you should practise the following progressive actions to better your SWOLF Score.

  1. Initially you should try to swim the distance with lesser number of strokes and incorporate more gliding action at or after each stroke to improve upon your stroke efficiency. Practising this overtime will result into betterment in your swimming technique.
  2. As your swimming technique improves, you should slowly start to swim faster to cover the same distance. This will cause improvement in your overall SWOLF score and actually contribute to a better health.

How to Track your SWOLF Score?

SWOLF score can be tracked by a variety of means.

Most swim watches nowadays are able to record swimming distance, duration of swimming and number of strokes taken by a swimmer and hence are able to provide the SWOLF Score easily.

However you should always make sure to set your swim tracker correctly before every swimming session as well as try out a few test runs in order to get an accurate reading from your device during the actual session. Since swim watches use internal accelerometers to count number of laps, they work by tracking change in the swimming direction. A good push off the wall during starting of each lap works best for most trackers.

Alternatively, you can also count the stroke in your head and use a stopwatch for recording the time taken to cover the distance. Then you can calculate your SWOLF score manually.

What is a Good SWOLF Score?

It is not meaningfully right to compare SWOLF Score of one individual with another due to differences in their physical attributes such as build, limb length & structure, height etc. Hence improving upon your previous SWOLF score is the way to go.

Initially you must try to cover 1 metre of swimming distance with each stroke and then try to gradually improve upon this by reducing the time.

However although a difference in physical attributes makes a benchmark SWOLF score practically impossible, a SWOLF score of 35-45 over 25 metres is a great score for an amateur swimmer.

Whatever the means of measurement or whatever the initial score, an improvement in your SWOLF score will always reflect an improvement in your swimming technique and hence of your overall health and fitness.

Written by Nyk

Hey All, this is Nyk father of two kids. Dish for Diet is an outcome of my passion for fitness. I have started this diet and fitness blog to share my experience and thoughts about diet, fitness, and nutrition. I am not an expert but an enthusiast trying to follow a healthy lifestyle. Stay with me to stay inspired with what I usually do :)