How Long Does It Take To Swim A Mile? What Factors To Include

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on July 28th, 2022

Swimming a mile in the ocean, a lake, or a pool would be an impressive fitness feat. But, how long would you swim if you wanted to swim a mile? How long does a mile of swimming take?

A mile would take around 45 minutes for a novice swimmer. It would take roughly 25 minutes for an inexperienced swimmer. On the other hand, Olympic swimmers can complete a mile swim in roughly 15 minutes.

person swimming on an olympic pool

The beginning swimmer will most likely need to take a rest during the swim. The amateur swimmer may require breaks or swim at a leisurely pace.

Continue reading to find out how long it takes to swim a mile and how to swim like an Olympian.

How Long Does It Take Swim a Mile? 

A mile should take roughly 45 minutes for a novice swimmer. This takes into consideration anticipated breaks. A mile should take around 25 minutes for a highly skilled swimmer. Olympic-level swimmers will complete a mile in roughly 15 minutes.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to playing sports for fitness or enjoyment. For example, if you’re swimming to stay healthy or to check your health, you might think of your swim time as a personal record to break each time you practice.

Starting a new sport necessitates thorough and ongoing training. So, if you’ve begun swimming training, your mile time should be towards the top of your priority list. How long does it take to swim a mile? What is an appropriate one-mile swim time for your style of a swimmer?

Olympic Level Swimmer15 minutes
Amateur Level Swimmer20 to 25 minutes
Beginner Level Swimmer45 minutes

The quickest mile swim time is 14:12.08. Bobby Finke, a sophomore from Florida, achieved this record at the 2020 SEC Championships. Bobby lapped all of the other swimmers in his record-breaking mile swim.

Based on the kind of water, the average time to swim a mile

The table below illustrates the average time it takes to swim a mile under various conditions; further, I will explain how these figures were calculated.

Swimming TypeAverage Mile Swim Time
Mile swim in a pool25-27 minutes
Mile swim open water30,02 minutes
Mile swim in the ocean33-35 minutes
Mile swim breaststroke45-50 minutes

How Many Laps Are There in a Mile of Swimming?

If you’re conducting your swim training in a pool, it’s a good idea to know what you’re aiming for. A mile is technically 1760 yards and 1609.3 meters; however, professional swimmers refer to 1650 yards and 1650 meters as a “mile.”

Most fitness centers offer either a 25-meter-long or a 50-meter-long swimming pool.

The number of laps required in each pool to equal one 1650-meter swimming mile is as follows:

  • One mile is 33 lengths or 66 laps in a 25-meter pool.
  • One mile is 16.5 lengths, or 33 laps, in a 50-meter pool.

Remember that a “lap” is defined as swimming all the way down the pool, not all the way down and back.

A “length” is a lap around the pool and back.

This arithmetic might be perplexing since a swimming mile is not a genuine mile. So, here’s how to figure it out based on the size of your swimming pool:

A mile divided by the length of your pool is the number of times you must swim across the pool once.

For instance, 1650 meters divided by a 50-meter pool equals 33 laps.

But what if you want to swim a mile? If your pool is measured in yards and you want to swim a mathematically precise mile, divide 1760 by the number of yards in your pool. Divide 1609.3 by the length of your pool if measured in meters.

How Difficult Is It To Swim A Mile?

When determining how tough it is to finish a daily 1-mile swim, many factors come into play.

These characteristics not only have an impact on your ability to swim longer distances, but they can also have an impact on your speed limit.

Notably, age is frequently a crucial predictor when examining performance levels in any physical activity. And whereas young individuals find it simpler to engage their bodies and push their limitations, older adults may struggle to activate their muscles.

A woman swims in a lake.

The water you swim in also influences how tough it is to stay afloat.

Factors Influencing Mile Swim Times

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to how long it takes someone to swim one mile since there are too many variables at work. However, once we explore those elements, we may provide you with some averages for various circumstances.

Factors influencing mile swim times include:

  • your endurance
  • your swimming style
  • Are you out in the open?
  • the temperature of the water, your age, and physical prowess

Compared to open water, you’ll receive the best outcomes in a swimming pool (lake, ocean, river).

1. endurance

Swimming stamina is one of the most significant attributes that elite swimmers must have. It provides enough energy and the strength to go through laps with little stops. Stamina can also help you do rigorous swim training for extended periods with ease.

2. Swimming Methodology

Learning different swimming styles and approaches will allow you to recognize and compare which types take the most time to swim and will allow you to preserve more energy when swimming a nonstop one mile.

Various swimming strokes include backstroke, butterfly stroke, breaststroke, sidestroke, and freestyle stroke. The freestyle stroke, commonly known as the front crawl, is the quickest and most popular form for competing in freestyle competitions.

The breaststroke, on the other side, is the slowest. As a result, learning the front crawl is the greatest choice for breaking the one-mile swim record.

3. Age and Physical Capacity

When it comes to competitive sports, age should be taken into account. Many athletes withdraw from the competition when their physical condition is no longer suitable for the activity. That is not to mean they have lost their athletic talents. It just so happens that as we age, our health and physical peak inevitably deteriorate.

Retired athletes may no longer compete, but they are in considerably better form than the average Joe due to many years of training. That is why it is critical to begin exercising as soon as possible and to continue training to stay fit and healthy. As a result, you will not only be able to develop your athletic ability, but you will also live a healthy life free of injury and age-related illness.

4. temperature

Extreme temperatures might slow you down depending on the season, time of year, and location of your open water swimming practice. First and foremost, swimming in cooler water might impact your respiration, which can quickly deplete your energy.

In addition, if you’re swimming in really cold water, you’ll require a wetsuit. Wetsuits can cause chaffing and, in some cases, claustrophobia, limiting your ability to swim at your fastest speed. Swim in a warmer season or climate if you want to swim in open waters for an optimum swim time.

5. Environment for Swimming

The setting in which you swim significantly impacts how quickly you can complete one swim mile. For example, swimming in an artificial pool is faster than swimming in open waters such as rivers, seas, or lakes, where numerous other uncontrolled elements might come into play.

So, how much time does it take to swim a mile? How long does it take to swim a mile in a pool or the ocean? A mile would take around 45 minutes for a novice swimmer. It would take roughly 25 minutes for an inexperienced swimmer. On the other hand, Olympic swimmers can complete a mile swim in roughly 15 minutes.

6. Visibility

You may put on your goggles in a pool and dive right in! However, visibility might be a challenge while swimming on broad seas. Instead of merely staying in your lane, you’ll need to take more stops, sighting where you’re going, and keep track of where you’ve been. Sighting not only slows you down by requiring you to glance up, but it also consumes extra energy.

Lakes and even ocean waters are frequently murkier than pool water, but if you want to swim in open water, try to choose an area where the water is clearer.

How Long Does It Take for a Beginner to Be Able to Swim a Mile?

Starting a new activity may be difficult, especially if you want to make rapid improvements. However, swimming for one mile continuously is a significant objective, especially for novices, and achieving it, no matter how long, is a triumph in and of itself.

Any novice will begin swimming with rests in between, recognizing that other aspects, such as training breathing patterns, the endurance to push forward using good swim strokes, and so on, will come into play. Beginners are also divided into two groups: those who are in decent cardiac form and those who are not.

The one-mile non-stop would take roughly two to three months of training for young novices or in good cardio fitness.

Those new to swimming and cardio or not used to exercising cardio at the level required for non-stop swimming may need six months or more to build up the endurance required to complete the one-mile swim without stopping.

How to Swim Faster and Reach Your One-Mile Goal

To achieve your personal goal of a one-mile swim, you must focus on training and basic strategies to ensure you can swim faster than the typical person.

Here’s what you can do to increase your stamina and eventually swim faster than your previous personal record:

1. Away from the Pool Strength and Cardio Training

If you are a serious swimmer, you should use additional training facilities, such as your local gym, to increase muscle mass in your arms and legs. Increasing your limb strength will allow you to power through each stroke the next time you swim.

Cardio training is another critical component of developing your inner power to meet your swim time objective. Swimming is a cardio exercise in and of itself since it gets your heart pounding and raises your body’s oxygen intake. So it stands to reason that a consistent aerobic workout is critical to maintaining your body in peak form for swimming.

Experts recommend incorporating a 30-minute run into your regular workout regimen up to three times per week to ensure you receive adequate exercise. Running at 75 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate is optimal for achieving adequate aerobic training for a swimmer.

2. Establish Small Personal Swimming Goals

Once you are confident in your swimming abilities, an excellent beginning point for your swim objectives is establishing a target of 500 yards daily for a week. You don’t have to give your all on the first try. Remember to take pauses and to pay attention to your breathing.

3. Pay Attention to Your Swimming Form

Concentrating on perfect swimming form is a simple technique to enhance your performance and achieve a quicker swim time. Proper form reduces the chance of injury and drag, allowing you to go through the water quicker.


A mile of swimming takes roughly 45 minutes for a beginning swimmer to accomplish, whereas an amateur swimmer completes the same distance in 25 minutes. On the other hand, an Olympic swimmer may complete the same distance in 15 minutes.

The typical one-mile swim time varies substantially between a novice and an Olympic-level swimmer. An Olympic-level swimmer can swim with little to no rests between laps, but a beginner needs frequent breathing stops. So how long should a mile of swimming take? The timings shown below are estimates for various skill levels.

Expertise in swim strokes, conscious breathing, improved cardiac conditioning, and muscle memory in swimming all influence how long it takes to complete a mile swim. Constant training in the sport, including regular exercise, cross-training, and, of course, enough rest, will help you achieve your own one-mile swim goals.


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