Penguins move by shuffling their feet from side to side when on land and by using their flippers, tails and a bubble mechanism to swim in the water. The speed of the penguin in both walking and swimming will depend on the species of penguin as well as the size of the penguin.
Penguins often move slowly because they like to huddle together in large groups to keep warm. As many as a few thousand penguins will gather together to generate warmth. The penguins stand next to one another touching at the back, the front and the sides with the exception of those on the outer edges of the group.
When the group wants to move, a few penguins will begin to take steps in the direction that they want to go and the rest of the penguins will react almost immediately. The penguins will move a few inches at a time in order to stay connected and not lose trapped heat, reports the Daily Mail.
In 2012, scientists discovered that the reason why emperor penguins are able to swim so quickly through the ocean is not only because of the feathers on their flippers but also because of bubbles. The penguins use bubbles to coat their body as they swim through the water. This coating of bubbles makes the penguins more slippery and they are able to slide through the water at top speeds of 12 to 77 feet per second, according to the NY Daily News.