Tips to Swimming 200m Freestyle


Hi Sheng Jun, I’d like to know for middle distance events like the 200m, how do you usually pace yourself? I’m curious to know as I used to think the 200 is a build up kind of race, whereby you take things easy until the last 100 or 50. But I decided to go all out for all 4 laps at a recent meet and I went under my pb by almost 12 seconds. It was extremely painful but amusing as well. Do you also push yourself throughout the four laps and endure pain?


Hey there!

Congrats on lowering your personal best time by 12 seconds!

Must have felt really good for you, it is a really great achievement!

I personally find that the 200m Freestyle is the hardest event to swim, not because it is the toughest (400IM feels like the toughest one to me) but because you cannot afford to make any mistakes in a 200m Freestyle race.

If you go too hard from the start, your lactate build up would be too drastic and your competitors may edge you out the last 50m.

On the other hand, if you go out too slow, you will be lacking too far behind to even stand a chance to out sprint your competitors in the final 50m.

If you watch a 200m Freestyle race, you can see that different swimmers take the lead per 50m, that is because every swimmer has their own race plan which may differ from the competitor beside him.


My Race Plan

For me personally I like to take the race out hard because I find that taking things easy the first 100m will be too risky as your competitors may have already taken too much of a lead for you to catch the next 100m.

It does hurt a lot during the last 50m but as long as you are fit and you keep yourself mentally tough, you’ll be able to hold on to the race and win it.

Of course, do take note that everyone has their own way of swimming their 200m Freestyle race, so there isn’t a pace that is perfect, it is about seeing what suits you best and stick to it.

I have swum countless amounts of poor 200m Free races to get me to the race plan I have today, so practice makes perfect!


Pace Work

To get the perfect race plan, you can actually do some pace work during training (E.g. 4x50m Freestyle on 0:50-1min rest intervals with your desired 200m Freestyle race plan) and see if that particular race plan works for you.

Try different race strategies like going fast/slow for the first 2 50m and see which 4x50m added time is the fastest and use that race plan when it comes to a competition!


Hope this helps you in your future 200m Freestyle swims 🙂 Different swimmers have different ways to swim their 200m Freestyle, so always remember to stick to the race plan that suits you best and you will be guaranteed to do well!


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