Have you ever noticed that the fastest swimmers in the pool typically look like they are swimming with less effort than the slower ones? It is not a coincidence. There is a reason and it is mostly in the wrist.
Two of the most important ways of getting a faster backstroke is by reducing frontal drag and by increasing propulsive power. The one arm backstroke drill accomplishes both tasks.
The important law of inertia comes into play at several key times during the flip turn and the approach to the wall is one of them. If a body in motion truly wants to stay in motion then the worst thing we can do is slow down while approaching the wall. Yet nearly every swimmer does.
A great backstroke start is a thing of beauty. I liken it to a dolphin leaping out of the water or David Boudia scoring a perfect 10 off of the 10-meter tower. You see no splash and hear no splash.
Watch Olympic champion Roland Schoeman demonstrate butterfly swim drills.
“The best streamline swimming position has become a center for controversy in swimming…”
“In swimming, I like to describe the freestyle recovery as having three octane grades; low, medium and high.”
While nearly all of the forces that create propulsion come from the hands and feet, certain other movements we can do with will increase the amount of propulsion coming from the pull and kick. We call those coupling motions.
Freestyle Flip Turn Part II: Olympian and The Race Club co-founder, Gary Hall Sr., breaks down “the flip” in the freestyle flip turn.
The maximum propulsion occurs at the beginning of the down kick with a flick of the foot toward plantar flexion of the ankle. The more plantar flexion of the ankle, the more foot surface area is available to push backward in the water, creating propulsion.
Follow Olympians in this 20 minute vinyasa yoga for swimmers focusing on core exercise.
The speed of the freestyle kick is the baseline speed for your freestyle. The higher the baseline speed (kick speed), the faster you will swim, after adding your pulling motion and body rotation.
First, I want to dispel one myth about breathing during intense exercise. In no sport does an athlete ever take a complete inhalation or expiration.
In the sprinters’ world, RPM matters. When a swimmer goes from hip-driven to shoulder-driven, he basically changes the technique of using his hand (and arm) from an airplane wing and paddle to using it as a propeller.
I call this the ‘modern toilet seat’ syndrome, because in swimming freestyle and backstroke, the hand slows down just like a modern toilet seat with a spring on it to keep it from falling down hard.