Healthy Blog

Streamlining Your Starts & Turns for Better Swimming Speeds

Monday, September 19, 2016

The speed you gain from pushing off the starting block combined with gravity is faster than you can swim, so if you can maintain that speed for a few seconds longer you’ll get a better race time.  And that’s why you should focus on streamlining your body when you train.

Get faster

In addition, if you can find a more streamlined body position with just a slight head position adjustment, it’s an easy way to get faster without using more energy.  So pay close attention to hand entry and hand/arm position during the stroke cycle.  And although a wide kick can pack more force for some swimmers, it also increases drag so you could be failing to add speed.  Experiment with a narrow kick to check if it’s more efficient.

Pushing off

When you push off from the pool wall, ensure that your body is streamlined before you start the push and you’ll increase your speed off the wall.  As you continue the push-off, pull your body into a streamlined shape that will enable you to keep moving at that speed for longer.

Here’s some advice about streamlining you can practise for improved speed:

  • One hand set on top of the other with your fingers pointing in the direction you’re moving
  • Wrap the little finger and thumb of the upper hand around the lower hand to prevent separation and stretch your fingertips as far forward as you can
  • Your arms should be extended in the direction you’re swimming with the biceps behind your ears
  • Aim to make the surface flowing along the back of your hands, along your arms and then the shoulders and back into a fairly smooth surface without your head sticking out as a bump
  •  Your head bump will be on the chest side 
  • The arms should be squeezing in behind your head as if you’re trying to bring your elbows together 
  • Your core should be straight and tight with every muscle pulling into the centre. 
  • Squeeze your legs in and together with your toes pointed and imagine you’re a torpedo shooting off the wall and cutting smoothly through the water

Streamlining can make a big difference when you’re trying to shave seconds of your race time and a little time spent on positioning when you train could be just the boost you need to be first past the post!