Much more so than cycling or running, the key to swimming faster is all about technique.
Here are three focal points – organised from front to rear of your body – proven to produce ‘easy speed.’ Most people find the targeted and tireless focus they require takes practice to develop…
Hang your head
Fully release its weight to the water and you should notice two new sensations. Firstly, more relaxation in the neck and upper back, and secondly, you feel the density of the water acts as a ‘cushion’ for your head (on your face when looking down, on the side of your head when breathing). If you can handle one more thought, keep your head quite still between breaths.
Reach forward more
Job one for your arms is to extend your bodyline, the simplest way to reduce drag. As you do, focus on one of the following (save the other for another lap or repeat):
1. Minimise noise and splash on entry and bubbles on extension. Enter closer and steeper to achieve both.
2. Reach slightly downhill, so the hand finishes its extension below your body. Relaxing your hand helps. A stiff hand tends to ‘surf’ upward, causing your legs to drop.
Job one for your legs is to ‘draft behind’ your upper body. The legs are incredibly good at burning energy and creating drag, and pretty pathetic at creating propulsion.
The less you kick the better – this seems obvious in a wetsuit, but pool practice is critical to making it a habit. Your chances of success are greatly enhanced by mastering the two skills that precede it.
(Images: Dennis O’Clair)
Found this useful? Check out Swimming technique: 9 common mistakes
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