How to Hyper-Streamline in Swimming instead of a Simple Streamline (VIDEO)

Courtesy of Gary Hall Sr., 10-time World Record Holder, 3-time Olympian, 1976 Olympic Games US Flagbearer and The Race Club co-founder.

The best streamline swimming position has become a center for controversy in swimming. At The Race Club, we believe the best way to streamline is by squeezing the elbows together behind the head and by pressing the shoulders up away from the sockets, with legs together, toes pointed and chin tucked down almost to the chest. The stomach then excavates, the skin tightens and the whole body is in alignment. We call this position the hyper-streamline. It is not a comfortable position nor a natural human position to be in. Therefore, swimmers tend to not use a hyper-streamline often and when they do, it is rarely executed with 100% precision.

In this Swimisode, learn techniques we teach at the Race Club swim camps that will help you improve your swimming streamline. Coach Gary Hall explains how to feel the benefits of the hyper-streamline position by creating a contest among the elite swimmers. In this Swimisode, swimmers push off the wall in different positions that allow them to feel the drag forces at work and to appreciate the extra effort required to streamline tightly. You will discover why water is such an unforgiving medium to be in because it is 800 times denser than air.

Gary Hall, Sr., Technical Director and Head Coach of The Race Club (courtesy of TRC)

Gary Hall, Sr., Technical Director and Head Coach of The Race Club (courtesy of TRC)

Watch Backstroke World Champion Swimmer, Junya Koga, Open Water Swimming Champ Lexie Kelly and Olympic Gold Medalist and 4 time Olympian Roland Schoeman demonstrate a perfect swimming streamline. Learn how to perform the best and tightest streamline and have fun while doing it! As an additional drill and exercise, we advocate kicking with Finis alignment board and DMC mono snorkel in the hyper-streamline position for proper body alignment.

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The Race Club, logoBecause Life is Worth Swimming, our mission is to promote swimming through sport, lifelong enjoyment, and good health benefits. Our objective is for each member of and each participant in The Race Club to improve his or her swimming performances, health, and self-esteem through our educational programs, services and creativity. We strive to help each member of The Race Club overcome challenges and reach his or her individual life goals.

The Race Club provides facilities, coaching, training, technical instruction, video, fitness and health programs for swimmers of all ages and abilities. Race Club swim camps are designed and tailored to satisfy each swimmer’s needs, whether one is trying to reach the Olympic Games or simply improve one’s fitness. Our programs are suitable for beginner swimmers, pleasure swimmers, fitness swimmers, USA swimming or YMCA swimmers, or triathletes; anyone who wants to improve swimming skills. All of our Race Club members share an enjoyment of being in the water and use swimming to stimulate a more active mind and body.


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New School/Old School
6 years ago

I see the streamline part, but what makes it Hyper?

6 years ago

Have you guys noticed how inflexible this looks when it is taught this way? Caeleb Dressel uses his whole body to torque the dolphin kick which begins with a flexible upper body movement kind of like a person getting repeatedly resuscitated with an AED or something, that’s how deep the chest goes. I think if you loosen up the top you don’t lose propulsion from drag. I’ve been experimenting with having a less static upper body position and it feels better and more powerful to kick this way… it may not be faster

Reply to  Bayliss
6 years ago

Maybe another way to think of it is that the dolphin kick begins with the movement of the groups you isolate when doing “cat pose” and “cow pose” in yoga

Attila the Runt
6 years ago

Ugh. The replay from two years ago

9 years ago

I teach just like this. My only comment is that with young kids who have heads larger than their chest, this isn’t the correct form as they pitch downward. Once they develop and are fully grown, this is ideal.

If kids are coordinated enough to control their core, they can be taught the long-term way (see above), but many can not and thus there needs to be an evolution into this.

But thanks for the great video because it makes showing it to the kids really simple and I will use it tonight at practice!

Reply to  morrow3
9 years ago

A common misunderstanding about streamlining is that the spine should be straight. To get into a hyper-streamline position, the lower back (lumbar spine) should be extended and the upper back (thoracic spine) flexed. In this position, the chest does protrude but it keeps the head in alignment with the chest when the arms are placed behind it. The only restriction we have seen in our Race Club swimmers, regardless of age, is that in some, flexibility around the scapula is limited so they cannot get their arms into this position very well. Hyper-mobility of the elbow actually allows a swimmer to touch the two elbows together behind the head, effectively turning two arms into one.

Reply to  Gary Hall Sr.
6 years ago

I totally agree with this Mr Hall . Your teachings are always a treasure .

Reply to  Gary Hall Sr.
6 years ago

Do you have a source for this? I have been teaching a streamline that uses a forward tilted pelvis – sort of like a backstroke posture. Sounds like my hyperstreamline is different than yours since the lower back is doing opposite things.

9 years ago

Agree on the streamline concepts! Great video, easy to implement.
Is there any research out there on hand position preference during an ideal streamline? (i.e. ‘stacked hands’, ‘relaxed hands’, or something else)

Reply to  SwimCoach
9 years ago

Not aware of any studies comparing the drag of tight, stacked hands versus relaxed hands. Intuitively, one cannot reach a linear, tight hand/arm/body position in a relaxed state. Hyper-streamlining not only puts the arms/hands in a lower drag coefficient shape, but it also helps excavate the abdomen and tighten the skin, leading to yet a lower drag coefficient. Every little bit helps reduce drag, but for streamlining correctly, relaxation is not an option.

9 years ago

Unbelievable. Ground-breaking stuff here.

Reply to  Enlightened
9 years ago

Streamline… I would have thought it was banally obvious, but then I started teaching swimming technique. Good streamline is a lesson in the obvious, great streamline is mantra of discipline.

9 years ago