How Long Does It Take to Swim a Mile?

How Long Does It Take To Swim A Mile

The accurate time for you to swim a mile can be affected by many reasons. It merely depends on your technique and practice. Without a doubt, these factors can drastically affect the actual time you would take to swim a mile. A skilled man could reach the finish line before an amateur can even make it to half a mile. But we will first talk about average swimmers.

Average time to swim a mile

It usually takes somewhere between 40-50 minutes if you regularly take short breaks and go to a normal speed. And that’s necessary because you cannot go a mile swimming and not taking any short breaks. Even if you are dedicated enough, still you will be physically limited. Your muscles will start burning before you come any close to the half. And that’s if you are a skilled swimmer. If you are an amateur swimmer, you might take even more time.

Intermediate Swimmers

An intermediate swimmer with the knowledge of basic technique and some developed stamina can swim through a mile in between 30-35 minutes. This is an average of researched and calculated time of intermediate swimmers with skills and plenty of practice. It can be further reduced with practice and dedication.

Intermediate Swimmers

Professional swimmers and World Record holders

You see an average swimmer takes short breaks and has less developed stamina. But what about professional swimmers who have practiced years to build enormous stamina and achieve some astonishing milestones? Well, in that case, the time records are pretty amazing. An expert swimmer with years of practice and hard work can manage to swim to a mile within 25 minutes or lesser. You will be astounded to know that the world record of swimming a mile is only 14 minutes and 31 seconds. It was set by a Chinese competitive swimmer Sun Yang. The women’s 1500 meters freestyle swimming world record was set by Katie Ledecky, from the United States. Both of these records were made on the international competitive mile. This means that they swim through only 1650 yards. That is 110 yards shorter than a mile. But still, these records are pretty amazing.

Factors affecting the speed and time

As we have talked about skilled swimmers and their amazing records, let’s take a look at the other factors which might affect the time graph. These include the fact that if you are swimming in an ocean or a swimming pool. What technique are you using? The temperature of water and swimmer’s age and physique. And also their gender.

Swimming Techniques

Butterfly Swimming Techniques

There are many swimming techniques that you can use to swim through a mile. But we are going to discuss the most efficient and major techniques used in the Olympics. We will also discuss which of these techniques can be the best choice to swim through a mile in the least time.

Breast Stroke technique is used in the Olympics. But it is not a precise choice if you are going to swim through a whole mile. It requires developing a good deal of stamina and is not very efficient over long distances. It can take the average time to about 45-50 minutes for skilled professionals as they will require more resting time.

Freestyle Swimming or Front Crawl is the most efficient swimming technique. Using this technique, you will be less tired over long distances. And it is pretty much fast too.

Butterfly Stroke is the fastest swimming technique you can use. It uses synchronous push and pulls with both arms and legs. The peak speed of this technique is faster than freestyles swimming or any other technique.

How long to swim a mile?

If you want to swim through a mile and you are short on time, you may prefer to use the fastest technique. But when it comes to long distances, you need to consider efficiency as the most important factor. Freestyle swimming will be the best choice to swim through a mile because you will get less tired and make lesser stops for short breaks. You might find the peak speed of butterfly stroke higher, but you cannot ignore the fact that it requires more muscle strength, and it will make you more tired throughout the mile. Freestyle is an efficient and more natural swimming technique and will keep you going for long intervals. It will eventually prove a time saver.

Freestyles swimming might give you an average time of 25-27 minutes in a pool. This is a good average for intermediate swimmers. Butterfly stroke can take the average time up to 30-35 minutes or more.


If you chose to swim in a pool, your average time will be lesser than the time in an ocean or open water. It depends on many factors such as more water waves in the ocean, or push of a wall while swimming in the pool. These factors look minor but do create a major difference over a mile swim. I am going to give you a hint on the time difference of swimmers of different levels of skills and their average time to swim through a mile.

Intermediate Swimmer

An amateur Swimmer

If you are an amateur swimmer with no special skills except the basics, you might require dedication to swim in a pool, and it might take you anywhere around 40-50 minutes. In an ocean or open water, it can increase from 60 minutes.

An intermediate Swimmer

An intermediate swimmer has developed some stamina and skills to swim through a mile in a pool in about 30-35 minutes. But it can take anywhere from 40-45 minutes or more to swim in an ocean.

A Professional swimmer

A professional swimmer might take around 25 minutes to swim in a pool. And they can also manage to swim a mile in an ocean in about 30-35 minutes or lesser.


Swimming through a mile seems an enormous challenge to some swimmers, while it is a daily practice milestone for most professional swimmers. You can earn milestones in your life with dedication only. Keep growing with your goals!

You can reach out to us if you have any doubts or questions about swimming through a mile. We will be happy to hear from you.

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