Swimming Challenges for Beginners

Whether you’re new to swimming, or you’ve spent a few too many years out of the water, swimming challenges can be a great way to get motivated, especially for beginners.

Taking part in swimming challenges will not only help increase your training, all those hours in the water will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Before taking to the water and reaping all the benefits, spend some time on land strengthening your muscles. As with any sport, becoming a proficient swimmer takes time, and plenty of practise.

We’ve put together this handy guide to swimming challenges, giving useful advice on how to get started and top tips for beginner swimmers.

Swimming Challenges for Beginners

Those getting into swimming for the first time should train proficiently and take care not to bite off more than they can chew. If you are new to swimming, or sport challenges, here are some of the challenges you should consider.

Swimming Workout

Set yourself a challenge in the pool. The best part about this challenge? Without competitors, you are always a winner!

Start off with a gentle swim to get warmed up then start sets. For example, do 8 lengths, taking a 30 second rest between each. Maintain pace and you will see your ability skyrocket in weeks.

Once you feel comfortable doing shorter distances, increase the amount of lengths and reduce the amount and length of your breaks. Challenge yourself to do certain distances, maintain particular pace, or limit breaks to a minimum.

Although not a typical challenge, strong willed swimmers, especially beginners, will find this non-competitive challenge pushes them and encourages great improvement.

Charity Swimming Challenges

Take part in a charity swimming challenge to get fit and support good causes!

There are many charity swimming challenges across the UK, so you can find one to suit you close to home. Due to the nature of charity events, it is definitely the taking part that counts. As long as you can swim, you can take part. There is hardly any pressure to win, or swim fast for that matter – ideal for beginners!

Sign up for a manageable charity swimming challenge and get the whole family involved or bring along a friend. Having someone there with you will make the challenge fun – and it can have great benefits!

Read more: Benefits of Exercising with a Friend

Virtual Swimming Challenge

Complete a virtual swimming challenge and get all the joy from finishing it without the intensity of fast paced racing.

Virtual challenges are perfect for beginners! Simply choose a distance you believe you can complete in a month, get swimming, record your distance, and complete your target.

With distances from 2 to 50 miles, Race At Your Pace has a virtual challenge for all levels of swimmer. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you complete the distance as long as it’s done in a month. You can go at a pace you feel comfortable at and still get a shiny medal for all your hard work.

Not sure virtual challenges are for you? Check out our testimonials or find out all the benefits they provide.

Open Water Swimming Challenges

Known for being tougher than regular pool swimming, open water swimming challenges are sure to test swimmers of any ability.

Beginners should not be put off, however, as with enough practise, any able swimmer should be able to complete short distances. Before undertaking a swimming challenge in open water, research the challenge well, including route and difficulty. If you believe you may struggle, consider reducing your distance entry.

Swimming Tips for Beginners

To get the most out of your swimming challenge, ensure you have perfected your swimming technique. Reap all the benefits of swimming with these top tips for beginner swimmers.


Be sure to warm up adequately before any exercise, including swimming. Stretch on the pool side to prevent muscle strain. Don’t go straight into full power swimming, and instead gently glide for a few minutes. Get used to being in the water and let your body adjust.


For the most part, breathing happens without us even noticing. When swimming, however, breathing becomes a conscious effort which needs to be considered and planned. Aim to inhale above the water and exhale underwater in rhythm with your movement. To maintain your streamline shape in the water, roll your head to the side instead of lifting it. Lifting your head may push your body down in the water and alter your straight alignment.


It can take a long time to perfect swimming form, in fact even professionals have to practise good form from time to time! But don’t let this intimidate you. Try to make small adjustments in your form to get the most out of your swimming.

Fortunately, it is unlikely swimming will incur injury, however bad form can result in an energy inefficient swim.

Arms should extend in line with or just inside the shoulder with each stroke. Legs should kick from the hips and not the knee. Kicking should be minimal; vigorous kicking requires a lot of effort but creates very little output.


No matter the level of skill you begin your swimming challenge with, everybody can improve with consistent practise. Before undertaking any substantial swim or challenge, be sure you can manage it and have practised the distance or duration before.

Virtual challenges are a great way to complete swimming targets at a pace you feel comfortable with while practising and becoming a better swimmer.

Race At Your Pace Swimming Challenges for Beginners

Here at Race At Your Pace we’re passionate about rewarding you for getting in the pool and keeping active. Complete your swimming goal and you will receive a prestigious medal as recognition of your hard work and perseverance.

We offer a variety of distances so any swimmer of any ability can enter, from paddling beginner to seasoned aquanaut! Complete your swimming challenge wherever you like, whenever you like, doing whatever stroke you want.

Sign up now!

Keep Up To Date