How Long Does It Take To Swim 1 Mile?

As summer heats up, many people flock to the open waters to cool off and get in a good workout. Whether you’re training for a triathlon or just want to challenge yourself, swimming 1 mile can be impressive. But just how long does it take to swim a mile? 

On average, an experienced adult swimmer can complete a mile swim in approximately 30-45 minutes.

In this blog post, I will explore the factors that can impact your swim time and provide some tips for improving your speed. So, strap on your goggles and dive in – we’re about to make a splash!

Average One Mile Swim Times By Skill Level

On average, a one-mile swim time can vary greatly depending on an individual’s skill level. 

Beginner swimmers 

This category includes individuals who are new to swimming or who have minimal experience. On average, a beginner swimmer will take anywhere between 40 and 60 minutes to complete one mile.

Intermediate swimmers 

Intermediate swimmers have some experience and moderate proficiency in swimming. On average, an intermediate swimmer will complete one mile in approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

Advanced swimmers 

These individuals have a high level of skill and extensive experience in swimming. On average, an advanced swimmer will take around 20 to 30 minutes to complete one mile.

How Long Does it Take to Swim a Mile in the Open Water?


Swimming a mile in open water can vary in time depending on several factors. These factors can include the individual’s swimming ability, weather and water conditions, and the course layout. However, on average, a mile swim will take between 20-40 minutes in open water.

First, the swimmer’s ability and fitness level are critical factors in determining the time it takes to swim a mile in open water. A competitive swimmer who has trained for months will achieve faster times than a recreational swimmer who swims only occasionally.

Secondly, weather and water conditions play a significant role in the time it takes to complete a mile swim. Strong winds, rain, waves, and currents can significantly impede a swimmer’s progress. The water temperature can also impact the swimmer’s endurance and speed.

Thirdly, the course layout can impact the swimmer’s performance. A straight course with no turns will result in faster swim times than a course with multiple turns. Visibility, water depth, and distance markers can also help or hinder a swimmer’s speed.

The optimal conditions for a fast open-water swim would include calm waters, moderate temperatures, no winds, and a straight course with good visibility. Under these conditions, an experienced swimmer should complete a one-mile swim within 20-30 minutes.

One-Mile Swim In The Ocean


The time it takes to swim a mile in the ocean depends on several factors such as the swimmer’s skill level, fitness level, swimming technique, water conditions, and the distance to be covered. 

A mile in the ocean is equivalent to 1.6 kilometers or approximately 1,609 meters. On average, it takes between 20 to 50 minutes for a good swimmer to cover the distance of a mile in the ocean, although this time may vary depending on the factors mentioned.

Swimming in the ocean is different from swimming in a pool due to the many challenges one faces in open water. The sea has currents, waves, and tides, which can make the swimmer’s pace relatively slow, especially if he or she does not have experience swimming in the ocean. 

Male 1 Mile Swimming Times

Here is the table which shows the male average time to swim one mile by age and ability.

Age GroupBeginner RangeIntermediate-RangeAdvanced Range
18-2445-60 minutes35-45 minutesLess than 30 minutes
25-3450-65 minutes40-50 minutesLess than 35 minutes
35-4455-70 minutes45-55 minutesLess than 40 minutes
45-5460-75 minutes50-60 minutesLess than 45 minutes
55-6465-80 minutes55-65 minutesLess than 50 minutes
65+70-85 minutes60-70 minutesLess than 55 minutes

Female 1 Mile Swimming Times

Here is the table which shows the female average time to swim one mile by age and ability.

Age/AbilityAverage 1 Mile Swim Time
Beginner (any age)50-60 minutes
Intermediate (under 30)35-45 minutes
Intermediate (30-50)40-50 minutes
Intermediate (50+)45-55 minutes
Advanced (under 30)28-32 minutes
Advanced (30-50)30-35 minutes
Advanced (50+)35-40 minutes

What affects swimming speeds?

swimming speed

Swimming speeds are affected by several factors, including the following:

1. Water resistance: 

Water is about 800 times denser than air, which creates resistance when swimming. The resistance of water affects how fast a swimmer can move through it. A swimmer may put in more effort to overcome the resistance which results in faster swimming speeds.

2. Stroke technique: 

Swimmers must have proper stroke techniques to reduce drag and move through the water efficiently. Proper stroke technique saves energy, reduces fatigue, and allows swimmers to swim faster.

3. Strength and power: 

Swimmers must be strong and powerful to generate the speed necessary for fast swimming. Strength training and plyometric workouts help swimmers to improve explosive power, which can help increase swimming speed.

4. Aerobic capacity: 

A high oxygen-carrying capacity of blood is necessary to supply the working muscles with oxygen, improving energy and endurance, and consequently, increasing swimming speed.

5. Start and turns: 

Pushing off the wall significantly affects a swimmer’s speed in both distance and time. Turns are opportunities for a swimmer to speed up, and the right technique and proper training will make a difference in the final results.

6. Body composition: 

A swimmer’s body composition influences their swimming speed. Generally, swimmers with leaner body composition swim faster because they have less weight to move through the water, less drag, and less resistance.

7. Flexibility: 

Swimmers need to have good flexibility to maximize their speed. A flexible swimmer can develop long and powerful strokes that maximize the propulsion from each stroke, enabling better swimming speeds.

Related: What Is The Average Time To Swim 1 Kilometer?


How long does it take the average man to swim a mile?

The average time it takes a man to swim a mile depends on the man’s swimming ability and technique. Generally, a moderately experienced swimmer can complete a mile swim (1,609 meters) in around 30-45 minutes.

How many laps in a pool is 1 mile?

The number of laps in a pool that makes up a mile swim depends on the size of the pool. In a standard 25-yard pool, a mile swim is approximately 70.4 laps. In a 25-meter pool, a mile swim is approximately 64 laps. In a 50-meter pool, a mile swim is approximately 32 laps.

How can I swim a mile faster?

To swim a mile faster, there are several techniques to consider, including improving your stroke technique, increasing your endurance through regular training and interval work, optimizing your breathing technique, incorporating strength training in your routine, and using equipment like swim fins and paddles to improve your form and speed. It’s essential to consult with a swimming coach or trainer to develop a personalized training plan specific to your needs and goals.

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