How Long Does It Take to Swim 1 Mile?

Swimming is a great way to improve your overall fitness, and it’s an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Swimming one mile can provide you with a great workout, but how long does it take to complete this distance?

Average Time to Swim 1 Mile

The average time it takes to swim one mile can vary depending on your swimming ability, age, and gender. According to the United States Masters Swimming website, the average time for a 40-year-old to swim one mile is around 30 minutes, while an elite athlete can complete the distance in under 20 minutes.

Factors That Affect Swimming Time

Several factors can affect how long it takes to swim one mile. One of the most significant factors is your swimming technique. A good technique can help you swim more efficiently, reducing the amount of energy you use and allowing you to swim faster.

Another factor that can affect your swimming time is your fitness level. If you’re not fit, you may find it challenging to swim one mile and may need to take breaks, which can slow you down. Additionally, your age and gender can also impact your swimming time, as younger individuals tend to have more endurance and faster swimming speeds.

Training for a One-Mile Swim

If you want to improve your time for swimming one mile, you need to put in some work. You should begin by establishing a regular swimming routine, ideally swimming four to five days per week. Start by swimming shorter distances and gradually build up to one mile.

Additionally, incorporating strength training exercises can help improve your swimming technique and endurance. Some examples of strength training exercises that can benefit swimmers include pull-ups, push-ups, and lunges.

Swimming vs. Running: Which is Faster?

When comparing swimming and running, swimming is generally slower than running. For example, the average 40-year-old can run a mile in around 9 minutes, while it takes around 30 minutes to swim one mile. However, swimming has several benefits, including being low-impact and providing a full-body workout.

World Record for One-Mile Swim

The world record for the one-mile swim is held by Sun Yang from China. He completed the distance in just under 14 minutes at the 2012 London Olympics. This record is a testament to the incredible speed and endurance of elite swimmers.


Swimming one mile is a challenging but rewarding activity. The time it takes to complete this distance can vary depending on several factors, including your swimming ability, fitness level, and age. To improve your swimming time, you can focus on improving your technique, building your endurance through regular swimming, and incorporating strength training exercises. Remember, swimming may be slower than running, but it offers many excellent benefits and is a great way to stay fit and healthy.