15 Of The Best Songs About Swimming: Swim Playlist

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Who doesn’t love spending time in the water and going for a long swim? It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro or barely survive with dog paddling. Being in the water is so refreshing.

Songwriters have blessed us with some swimming songs that make us want to dive straight into the water. Some of these are literally about swimming. But swimming can also be a metaphor for hardships, finding motivation, and life’s changes.

If you’re looking for these songs, you’ve come to the right place. So dive into our list of 15 of the best songs about swimming.

1. “Nightswimming” By R.E.M.

Let’s start our list with a song with “swimming” in the title. R.E.M.‘s “Nightswimming” was from their 1992 album Automatic for the People.

The song starts with the singer declaring that “Nightswimming deserves a quiet night.” A certain photograph on the windshield of his car prompts memories of his youth. Particularly evenings he spent swimming. He reveals skinny dipping one time and almost getting caught.

These memories contrast his present life, as he sings, “These things, they go away, Replaced by everyday.” But those memories will not be forgotten.

2. “Swimming Pool Blues” By Miniature Tigers

When something tragic or depressing happens, what we usually enjoyed doing becomes a thing of the past. In Miniature Tigers‘ “Swimming Pool Blues,” the singer loses his love for swimming.

His blues are brought by losing the person most important to him. Whether she left him or died, things have never been the same for him. “Haven’t been swimming on summer” suggests that this sport was what they loved to do before.

But without her, he can’t find enjoyment in swimming. Her absence leaves him “lost and confused.” He thinks that if they can swim, they’ll make it. But how can he make it now when he’s alone?

3. “Swimming Pools (Drank)” By Kendrick Lamar

At its core, Kendrick Lamar‘s “Swimming Pools (Drank)” revolves around overindulgent drinking. You can find this song from his 2012 album good kid, m.A.A.d city.

In the song, the swimming pool is a metaphor for drinking liquor. Clues to the meaning can be found right in the beginning. The lyrics go, “Pour up (drank), head shot (drank)… pass out (drank), wake up (drank).”

According to the singer, he grew up around adults who drank too much. Within his own family, it started with his grandfather who “had the golden flask.” Some of them drink for the taste while others do it to drown their sorrows.

4. “I Go Swimming” By Peter Gabriel

You can never go wrong with “I Go Swimming” by Peter Gabriel. The song came out in 1983 when it got published in the Plays Live album.

The song’s meaning relates to the love of swimming, including spending time in a river, sea, or pool. The songwriter applied some imagery to urge us to go swimming, saying, “The sun is burning, I am yearning for the waterflow.”

But beyond swimming, the song also talks about the importance of water. The singer says he needs “water on my brain, water sustain, water over me.” He seems to tell us to be healthy not only physically but mentally as well.

5. “Santa Monica” By Everclear

Experience is one of the best inspirations for songs, as Everclear’s “Santa Monica” will show you. For the band’s lead vocalist, Santa Monica serves as the ideal place to settle down.

From the lyrics, we discover that the singer is breaking away from a bad relationship. Finding himself a new place, which turns out to be Santa Monica, is the first step to moving on.

The singer has done enough living in cold places and he’s looking for sunshine. He dreams of living by the ocean, swimming past the breakers, and leaving the bad times behind.

6. “Swimming In Miami” By Owl City

The earlier works of Owl City‘s Adam Young featured songs with ambiguous and abstract lyrics that were fueled by his insomnia. One of those earlier songs was “Swimming in Miami,” from the 2007 album Of June.

When you first listen to the song, the incoherent lyrics might throw you off. They don’t make sense, but the way Young sings puts his listeners in a trance. Perhaps he had intended to write down whatever came to his mind during the writing process. In a way, he allowed his listeners to make their own interpretations of the song.

But what we know is that everything is told from the perspective of an astronaut from out of space. Listen to the whole song and it will tell you it’s about taking yourself out of sad situations. In times of stress, you can swim your way to serenity.

7. “Under The Sea” By Samuel E. Wright

If you’re a young adult who grew up watching The Little Mermaid, you’re sure to love hearing Samuel E. Wright‘s “Under the Sea.” It won the Academy Award for Best Music (Original Song) and fits into the children’s music genre.

The real meaning of the song relates to the wonderful life that animals enjoy under the sea. The singer tells Ariel, the mermaid, that her dreams of living on the land are not worthwhile since the human world is messy. Essentially, living on land requires too much work under the sun.

The song discusses how living in the ocean means you won’t have any problems. In short, living among and swimming with the fish leads to a happy life.

Related: For more songs about an animal, click here.

8. “Swimming Pool Summer” By Capital Cities

If you’re craving a summer anthem, consider listening to Capital Cities‘ “Swimming Pool Summer.” The band states that your summer will be great if you have a swimming pool. But if you don’t, then you’ll end up depressed.

In a song with “swimming” in the lyrics, the singer meets someone special at the pool at the château. Among the strangers there, she’s the one that caught his eye.

And she’s open to flirting too. The singer shares, “Her eyes are laser-beaming me.” The feelings it stirs in him make him realize that he’d never felt this way in a while.

9. “Night Swimmers” By Foals

What’s a better way to spend a blistering summer day than swimming? Foals‘ “Nightswimmers” would tell you that even nights feel so humid that it’s a great idea to go night swimming.

In the lyrics, the singer takes his lover to the perfect spot to spend a hot day. Only the two of them know about “the cool blue lagoon where we sleep until noon.” While the city suffers through another scorching day, it’s a picnic day for the two of them.

At night, the moon serves as the perfect backdrop as they spend a lovely time in the water. To cap the night off, they enjoy a drink under the moonlight.

10. “Into The Ocean” By Blue October

What’s interesting about Blue October‘s “Into the Ocean” is how it can be interpreted in many ways. You’re free to understand the song as it speaks to you. But let us look into it from the perspective of someone going through a lot.

The ocean seems to be a metaphor for the singer’s life problems. They are so huge he feels like “sinking to the bottom.” “Without a life vest” suggests there’s no one to help him, and now he finds himself “floating up and down” in the ocean.

He wants to get out of this situation by “swimming away,” but he doesn’t know how. He’s looking for someone or something to save him (coastguard and spotlight). But the problems weigh on him so that he feels like falling into the ocean.

11. “Underwater” By Mika

It’s amazing what love can do. It stirs feelings in us that we would otherwise not experience. In “Underwater,” Mika tells us that love can save us.

Which is exactly what the singer needs. He tells us that he’s weary from the troubles of the world that he feels like disappearing. But despite the chaos around him, his lover is the one that makes sense. He declares, “You are the port of my call,” and she beckons him to come rest in her arms.

The song basically says that love never dies. With a kiss from his lover, he is filled with so much vitality that he feels like he can breathe and live underwater.

12. “My Friend Has A Swimming Pool” By Mausi

Swimming and drinking are your quintessential activities for those lazy summer days (or nights). Mausi‘s “My Friend Has a Swimming Pool” is the right kind of song when you just want to enjoy summer.

In the song that mentions “swimming” in a literal way, the singer lays out her plans for the night with friends. The lyrics open with, “When the sun starts sinking, We’ve already been drinking,” which sets the tone for the whole song. And we know this is a party song right away.

The singer wants to take advantage of her friend’s swimming pool and party all night long. There will be drinking, dancing, skinny-dipping, and swimming to her heart’s content.

13. “Swimming Lesson” By Eels

American rock band Eels gives us a golden nugget in their 2010 single “Swimming Lesson.” If you want to cope with life’s struggles, you need to learn how to swim. That’s speaking metaphorically, of course.

In the lyrics, swimming is a metaphor for succeeding in life. We all know how challenging life is. It throws us obstacles left and right. Sometimes we fail more than we succeed. If we don’t do anything, then we’ll “drown” in these problems.

Truth be told, the “Swimming Lesson” is hard to master. Particularly since there are people who want to see us fall, but that’s life. We either sink or swim.

14. “Cold Water” By Major Lazer Ft. Justin Bieber And MØ

Whether literally or metaphorically, we all want someone who’d jump into the water and save us. That’s the message behind Major Lazer‘s 2016 hit song “Cold Water,” with whom he collaborated with Justin Bieber and .

The lyrics are words of comfort for someone who means a lot to our singer. He’s telling her that when she’s feeling low, she can share her burdens with him. He promises her that even if life takes them on separate roads, he’ll remain her “lifeline.”

But of course, what he wants deep inside is to spend forever with her. So there’s no reason for her to go through everything alone. He’s willing to jump in, swim, and save her if needed.

15. “Wild Swimming” By Martha Tilston

You have to give it to songwriters who are deeply imaginative. One is Martha Tilston, an English folk singer-songwriter. For our last song on the list, let’s briefly look into her song “Wild Swimming.”

Quite simply, this song compares wild swimming with the singer’s love interest. She’s willing to “swim to your island” despite him being a rover. He’s the kind of man her mother warned her about because he’s going to leave her in the end.

But the singer can’t turn away from him, showing us that she accepts him for being a rover. Like wild swimming, he gives her “rushes,” which could only pertain to an adrenaline rush. Both swimming and the man give her the kind of excitement she longs for.

Summing Up Our List Of Swimming Songs

There you have it, the best compilation that we can find for you on this topic. Did you enjoy listening to the songs?

Perhaps you’re already familiar with some of them. And we hope you found new songs that swam their way into your playlist.

We also hope these songs inspired you to go for a nice swim and enjoy the nature around you. Have a great time splashing in the water!

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Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.