When you train you are aiming for a measurable improvement in your stroke technique; speed, fitness, and stamina. Training needs to be planned and comprise of both improving stroke technique and preparation for competitions, if you wish to compete.
Correcting common errors - front crawl from Dave Hemmings GB coach/media/other/31995/Correctingcommonerrorsfrontcrawl.pdf
Helpful Drills -front crawl /media/other/31995/Helpfuldrillsfrontcrawl.pdf
Better turns - Steve Parry's tips on getting more from your turns
Stretching exercises Swimfit- provides exercises
Swimming stalled this article from the United States Masters Swimming advises on what to do when you hit a swimming plateau
The Shoulder Pain Checklist - Shoulder pain is a common problem for swimmers. The Swim Smooth Blog has a useful checklist and simple points to help avoid this problem
After you feel you have mastered the strokes and want to put your skills to the test, you may wish to consider entering some competitions that are suitable for a new-comer to the sport. It is good practice to seek guidance from your coaches or fellow swimmers who will be able to advise you on whether you are ready for competitions and which events are the best to enter.
At Kings Cormorants, the coaches advise swimmers as to when they are ready to compete. We advise members to enter postal competitions, which are swum in your own pool, like the ASA half hour swim, and the BLDSA one-hour swim. These events are good training since they demand good technique and help to develop stamina. Members of your own club supervise and help, so the atmosphere is not intimidating, but there is a challenge, and there is also a list of the results, country wide, so one gets an idea of one's place in the scheme of things.
The next step we advise is to enter a local meet with other club members, where you can be a member of a relay team, or take part in a short race, 50 or 100 metres, and begin to learn the rules of the sport with the support of the rest of the team.
There are rules for strokes, turns, starts and competing, and most clubs have some officials among their members who can assist with queries concerning disqualifications, legal turns, starts etc.