The old coaching methods taught that to swim faster we must train harder and train more often. The reality is that the best swimmers in the world focus on swimming with correct technique more than anything else. Champion swimmers don’t aim to thrash out the maximum laps per session. They focus on reducing drag each and every stroke. Improvement comes from reducing drag more than increasing fitness.
Here are 3 important tips when it comes to achieving excellent swimming technique:
1. Keep your body long – Swimming technique must always be kept long, with the swimmer extending their arms, head and shoulders forward while keeping their legs, feet and hips streamlined behind them. The longer your body is kept throughout the stroke, the faster your body will travel through the water. Picture your body as a long, thin yacht gliding through the water and not a big, wide barge which must use enormous amounts of energy to move forward.
2. Treat the water as your friend, don’t fight it – Often swimmers will thrash about in the water in an attempt to pull themselves through it at all costs. They will be splashing, kicking and fighting against the water in an effort to go faster. Good swimmers will use the water as their friend by allowing the natural buoyancy of their body in the water to sit high and streamlined in the water. Power in swimming comes more from smooth, efficient movements than from pulling hard against the water.
3. Relax your muscles, relax your breathing – A tense swimmer is like a broomstick trying to bend. The key to great swimming technique to be able to relax both your muscles and your breathing. The natural thing for us to do to go faster is to tense up and flex our muscles by pulling and kicking harder. Unfortunately this is what slows a swimmer down in the water. Relax and let your body glide through the water for efficient and effective swimming. And it’s a whole lot easier once you get it right!