How do fish swim? How fast?

Primarily by contracting bands of muscles in sequence on alternate sides of the body so that the tail is whipped very rapidly from side to side in a sculling motion. Vertical fins are used mainly for stabilization. Paired pectoral and pelvic fins are used primarily for stability when a fish hovers, but sometimes may be used to aid rapid forward motion.

Tunas and tuna-like fish, billfish, and certain sharks are the speed champions, reaching 50 miles per hour in short bursts. Sustained swimming speeds generally range from about 5 to 10 miles per hour among strong swimmers.