Swimming Body Positions: The Eternal Quest For Easy Speed

by SwimSwam 4

January 15th, 2018 Training

Courtesy of Eney Jones

“Just throw me a line that’s all that I ask, Well it’s sink or swim and I’m goin’ fast. I need love and it’s you. And I feel like William Holden floating in a pool.” Blue Rodeo, Canadian Rock Band

The best way to go fast

The best way to go fast and not use a lot of energy is to adjust your body position for easy speed.

  • Widen your catch
  • Superhero posture. See Superhero Training Tips
  • Lift your sternum
  • Stretch your psoas muscle and upkick focus

Some swimming history

The search for speed and efficiency in swimming has been going on for quite some time. In 1696, Melchisedech Thevenot, published L’Art de Nager (The Art of Swimming) and wrote,”Swimming is an old sport which hitherto has not received the investigation necessary to improve efficiency.”Hundreds of years later we are still looking for this. The above photo sketch is from his book!

Work on good body position when you are going slow

It is easy to have good body position when you are going fast but you need to work on good body position when you are swimming slowly.

Jimmy Seear, professional triathlete (and swimmer extraordinaire) whose swimming was developed by the great Australian coach Michael Bohl says, “ Yeah I have been taught that good technique when swimming easy and having the ability to still catch good water that when you speed the stroke up its much more efficient and faster. The muscles understand the order of firing and learn much better when firing slower and can then respond well when told to increase the tempo.”

The 4 A’s of good swimming body position

  • Awareness. What are you actually doing. Are you lying on your side collapsing your shoulder, leveling out your arm, losing the integrity of the catch?
  • Activation. Change the problem by a wider catch. Engage bigger muscles like the latissimus dorsi muscles. Breathe earlier with a disciplined breath. Lift your sternum this will create a higher body position with no neck strain and very little effort. Twist at the waist. Focus on an arabesque like motion, engage the upkick. See Video example.
  • Adjust. Adjust your training- Pull and pull often, when you pull your body is higher your tempo is faster. Pulling creates race like conditions it is like wearing a wetsuit or swimming in salt water. Buy the best buoy here: See Eney Buoy Rather than a pull set, pull and then not pull within a set so your body will naturally adjust and swim in a pulling position.
  • Action. Go. Put your new form in action!

Some more swim history

There are many reasons to swim fast and easily. In the year 1538 Nicolaus Wyman thought we needed to swim fast and easily to cross the River Styx on our way to hell. I prefer to think of Hero and Leander. This Greek myth had Leander swimming across the straight every night to visit his lover, Hero. He did not want to be tired when he arrived! This swim is commemorated yearly to this day! See Swim Hellespont

Whether it is for your entrance into hell, or to visit your lover, or your next race, there are many reasons to swim easier, more efficiently and faster.

Now get into action!

Eney Jones has achieved remarkably diverse success as a leading pool, open water and Ironman triathlon swimmer, and is also a yoga instructor.

  • Masters National Champion 100-200-400-500-1500-1650 5k freestyle 2009
  • Open Water 5k Champion Perth Australia, May 2008.
  • National Masters Champion 200-400-1500 freestyle Champion, Portland Oregon, August, 2008.
  • Overall Champion Aumakua 2.4k Maui Hawaii, September 2008
  • Waikiki Rough Water Swim 3rd place 2006, second place Overall 2009, 3rd place 2012
  • European Record Holder and Masters Swimming Champion, 2005. Records included 200, 400, 800, 1500 m freestyle
  • Over twenty time finalist in U.S. Swimming Nationals, including Olympic Trials 1980
  • Gold medal NCAA 800 yd freestyle relay 1979, silver Medalist 200 yd freestyle 1979. United States National Team 1979-1980.
  • Professional Triathlete 1983-1991. First woman out of the water in every Hawaiian Ironman participated (6).

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