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FUNDAMENTALSOFFASTSWIMMING GaryW.Hall,M.D. TechnicalDirectorTheRaceClub AtTheRaceClubIhavehadtheopportunitytoobserveandworkwithsomeofthefastestswimmers intheworld.ThoughIhavecometoappreciatethatstroketechniquesdifferbetweensprintersand distanceswimmers,andthatthereisnotonetechniquethatisidealforeveryone,regardlessoftherace distance,Ialsorecognizethatthebestsprintersdemonstratethemostefficienttechniques.Afterall,if theywerentefficientswimmers,theywouldntbegreatsprinters. Whetherdistanceorsprint,however,Ibelievetherearethreecommonfundamentalsthatare desirabletoachieveinallstrokesinordertoswimfast.Thesefundamentalsarenotnew.Theyhave beenpresentedbyexperiencedandknowledgeableswimcoaches,thoughnotalwaystogetherorinthe sameway.ThefollowingissimplyTheRaceClubwayofpresentingthesethreeimportantfundamentals withafewnovelideasthrownin.

. FUNDAMENTAL#1THICKASABRICK SincemovingtotheFloridaKeys,Ihavebeenontheunderwaterlookoutforanyfishoraquatic mammalthatcloselyresemblesthehumanbeing.Sofar,asidefromaslowmovingjellyfish,Ihavent foundonesinglespecieswithlongarmsorlegs.Thefactis,Isuspectthatmostofthesnapper,grouper andyellowtailthatswimawayfrommewithaflickoftheirtail,kindofsmirkwhentheylookbackatme withmyspearguninhand,calculatinglyoutofreachforakill.Tothem,Imustlooklikeabrickwithlong finson.Cometothinkofit,thatiswhatweare;livebricksinthewater. Intheminievolutionofhumansasaquaticmammals,whichunofficiallybeganinthe1896Olympic Games,when,forthefirsttimeinsport,itbecamedesirableforthehumantomovequicklythroughthe water,wehaveactuallycomealongway.Someofourprogressinswimmingfasterhasbeenlearned (trainingsmarterandharder,streamlining,shavingthebody),someofitgeneticand/ordevelopmental (taller,biggerhandsandfeet,moreflexibility,hyperextendedjoints)andsomeofittechnological(swim caps,wooltonylontoLycratofullbodiedcarbonfibersuits).Yes,wevecomealongway,baby,butto thatTarponthatswimsbymydockeverynight,evenMichaelPhelpsstillswimslikeabrick. Sincethehumanbricklikebodyisnotstreamlinednordesignedforthewater,wemusttrytodothe bestwecanwithit.Itjusthappensthataswithallnonstreamlinedobjects,littlethingswedowithour bodiestomakethemclosertobeingstreamlinedturnouttomakeabigdifference.Inasportwhere

winningornotisdeterminedbyhundredthsofseconds,thelittlethingswedotomakeourselvesmore streamlinedturnouttobenotsolittle. Ingeneral,coachesaroundtheworldhavecometorecognizehowimportantstreamliningthehuman bodyis,iftheswimmerwantstowin.OfthehundredsofswimmersIhavetaughtatTheRaceClub, virtuallyalloftheswimmersunder30yearsofageknowexactlyhowtomakeastreamlineinthewater. Inmajorcompetitions,theywouldntdreamofnotswimmingwiththehighesttechsuit,racingcap, shavedbodyandlowprofilegoggleson.Yetevenwithallofthathightechgear,usingaperfectentry trackstartofftheblocks,hittingthewateratapproximately5milesperhourandmakingthetightest, wristoverwriststreamlinetheycanmanage,utilizingnokicksorpulls,theywillcometoavirtualstopin thewaterinabout5seconds.Alas,thehumanbrick. Inourongoingquesttobecomelessbricklikeandmorefishlike,Ihavefoundtwoproblemsthatoccur inover90%oftheswimmersIteach.Idontblamethecoaches.Oneisalmostbeyondtheircontrol.The otherissimplynotobvious.Thefirstproblemisheadposition.Infreestyle(asinfly,backandbreast)the headpositionisoftenheldtoohigh.Whyisthisbad?Whentheheadiselevatedinthewater,thehips immediatelysink.Thehumanbodyswimmingthroughthewaterwiththeheadelevatedisabody movingwithaslightangle.Ifonehasevertriedtopullakickboardthroughthewaterinanyotherway butflat,onewillunderstandwhatthatslightangledoestocreatedragorresistance.Ifasmallkickboard causesthatkindofdrag,imaginehowmuchdragiscreatedwithaslightlyangled5or6footbody! Ouch. Theheadpositionneedstobeinalignmentwiththebody,notelevated.Thatmeansthelineofsight isdirectedtothebottomofthepool,notinfront.Orinbackstroke,theheadneedstobepositioned backfarenoughtoallowasmallstreamofwatertogooverthefacebetweenbreathsandwitheach stroke.Anyhigherheadpositionthanthatandoneisswimmingonanangle.Greatfreestylerswill breathebackandtothesidesothatwhentheheadreturnstothedownposition,thechinistucked downandtheheadremainsinalignmentwiththebody.Seemssimple,sowhydo90%ofswimmers havetheirheadstoohigh?Selfdefense. Whenyouswimfreestyleorflyandyourheadisinthecorrectposition,youcantreallyseewhereyou aregoing.Itisonlyamatteroftimebeforesomeoneswimmingbackstrokeveersovertoyoursideof thelane,orsomeonepushesoffthewallcrooked,orsomeflyerdecidestotakeoverthemiddleofthe lane.Itonlytakesonesmackoftheheadandyouwillbeswimmingwithyourheadupfromthatpoint on,evenifyoulooklikeTarzan,inordertoavoidthathappeningagain. Sohowdoesacoachteachtheproperheadpositioninthemidstofafrenziedworkout?Drills,drills anddrills.thenallowswimmerstoswimatleastonelengthcorrectlywhenthereisnooncoming traffic.Trytogivethemenoughspaceinsendoffssotheydontneedtobelookingupallthetime. ThesecondmostcommonproblemIencounterthatcontributestoourbricklikemotioninthewateris thedroppedelbow.Onceagain,Igivemostcoachescreditfortrying.Mostswimmersarebeingtoldto swimwithahighelbowunderwater.Theyjustarentbeingtoldwhyorcorrectlywhy.Ifaswimmeris givenareasonforswimmingwithahighelbow,whichisnotoften,itisusuallyrelatedtoincreasingthe

pullingareaorpoweroftheunderwaterpull,neitherofwhichIbelieveistrue.First,astraightarmhas thesamesurfaceareaasabentarm,sothatdoesnotchange.Asforpower,Ibelieveahighelbow createsneitheranaturalnorastrongerpositionforthepull.Infact,atfirstattempt,pullingwithahigh elbowisdownrightawkward.Whatthehighelbowdoescreate,however,isasignificantreductionin drag.Thereisaverysimplewayonecandemonstratethis. Putonapairoffins.Kickasfastasyoucanacrossa25yardormeterpoolwithonearmheldoveryour headinastreamlinedpositionandtheotherarmstraightdowntowardthebottomofthepool.Youwill havetoworktokeepyourarmpointedstraightdownasthedragcreatedbyitwillcauseittogo backwards.Onceyoufeeltheenormousdragyourarmcreates(likedraggingabucket)youwillhavea greaterappreciationforwhytherearenofishwithlongarms.Nowdothesameexercise,kickingasfast aspossiblewiththefins,butinsteadofpointingthearmstraightdowntowardthebottom,lettheupper armprotrudestraightouttothesideandperpendiculartothebody(keepitunderwater)andthen bendtheelbow90degreestowardthebottomofthepool.Samearm,samesurfacearea,justina differentposition.Youshouldstillfeelconsiderabledragfromthearminthehighelbowposition,yet significantlylessthanwiththestraightarm. Admittedly,swimmingisnotquitethesameasdraggingyourarmthroughthewater.Thislong appendagethatcausesthishugedragproblemisalsoprovidingthesurfaceareathatenablesour musclesallthewayfromthecore(abdominal,lowerback)upperback,chest,shoulder,uppertolower armhelppowerusup;toprovidemostofourpropulsiveforce.Inotherwords,ourarmisbothourbest friendandourworstenemy.Inordertobetterunderstandwhy,letsexaminewhatishappeningtothe entirearmduringthefreestylestroke. Today,aworldclasswomansprinterwillswim50metersin25seconds.Thatmeansthatherbodywill averageaspeedof2meterspersecond.Ifherbodyismovingthatfastthroughthewater,howfastare herhandsmovingunderwater?Surprisingly,fewpeopleIaskthisquestiontoknowtheanswer.Doc Counsilman,backinthe70s,wasthefirsttoanalyzethehandmovementsunderwaterduringthe freestylestroke.HedidsobyplacingasmalllightonthefingertipsofMarkSpitz,meandotherworld classswimmers,thenphotographingusswimmingfreestylefromthebottomofthepoolwitha stationarymoviecamerainadarkenedindoorpool.1Hediscoveredthatthereisverylittleforwardor backwardmotionofthehandinthewater(thereissomeforwardmotionatthebeginning(theglideor hold)andsomebackwardmotionduringthefastphase,whenthehandmovesfromaroundthe shouldertoitsreleasefromthewater).Muchofthemotionofthehandisactuallyfromsidetoside and/ordownandup,butalmostinvariablythehandwillexitthewaterverynearorslightlyinfrontof thepointwhereitentered,meaningthatthenetvelocityofthehandintheforwarddirectionisnear zero. Evenabricksittingstillinthewaterdoesnotcreatedrag.Forwarddrag(ofwhichtherearethree types;pressuredrag,surfacedragandfriction)isdependentonhavingvelocityinthewater.Atthe beginningoftheunderwaterpull,whenthehandismovingforwardsome,itisinastreamlinedposition andcreateslittleforwarddragbutdoescreatepropulsivelift.Asthehandacceleratesbackwardwith

somevelocityinthatdirection,itcreatespropulsivedrag,butnowitcontributesnothingtoourforward (resistive)drag.Whatabouttherestofthearm?Whatisitdoingduringthefreestylepull? Sincethearmisattachedattothebodyattheshoulderandweknowthebodyistravelingat2meters persecond,thenthispartofthearmisalsomovingforwardat2meterspersecond.Ifthenetvelocity ofthehandiszero,thenaswemoveupthearmfromthewristtotheforearmtotheelbowtothe upperarm,wewillfindanincreasingforwardvelocityofthatpartthroughthepull,thoughnot necessarilyinalinearfashion,evenwhenthehandismovingbackward.Thefasteranobjectmoves throughthewater,themoredragiscreated,unlessofcourse,likeaboat,itcanmovetoacompletely differentposition,likehydroplaningoverthewater.Sofar,nohumanhasbeenpowerfulenoughto planeoverthewater.Sowecanassumethattheupperarmcausesmuchmoreforwarddragthanthe lowerarmbecauseitisbiggerandistravelingforwardfaster.Howwepositionthatupperarm,thatis, elbowdownorelbowup,makesabigdifferenceinhowmuchmoredragthatpartofthearm contributes. Onecanthinkofthearmastwopeopleinacanoe.Thepersoninfront(representingthelowerarm) wantstowintheraceandispaddlinglikecrazy.Thepersoninthebackofthecanoe(representingthe upperarm)doesntreallywanttobethere.Infact,hegottalkedintogoing,sohisplanwastositback andletthefrontguydoallthework.Butheknewthateventuallythefrontguywouldwonderwhythey werentwinning,sohewouldturnaroundandfindhimsittingbackandrelaxing.Inordernottoget caughtslacking,theguyinthebackofthecanoedecidestoputhispaddleinthewateratalltimes. Wheneverthefrontguywouldturnaround,hewouldmakeafaceandgruntlikehewaspullinghard, whenallhewasdoingwasputtinghispaddleinthewater.Byputtinghispaddleinthewater,however, andnotpulling,heiscreatingabiggerproblemthanbydoingnothing;causingmoredrag.Hehasa choice,though.Hecanputhispaddleinthewaterwiththebladeparallelorperpendiculartothelineof forwardmotion.Ifheputsthebladeinperpendicular(droppedelbow)hecreatesahugeproblemfor theguyupfront.Ifheputsthebladeinparallel(highelbow),hecreateslessofproblemfortheguyup front. Watchingworldclassswimmerafterworldclassswimmerunderwater,whetherwithTheRaceClubor not,Iamstruckbytheconsistencyofthehighelbowinfreeandfly.Theelbowsmoveveryquicklyfrom ahighposition,asthebodymovesbythehand(notviceversa)intoatuckedpositionnearthebodyas thehandpreparestoreleasefromthewater.Ibelievethatthisratherunnaturalpositionisnota positionofpower,butratherapositionofleastforwarddragorresistance.Itisoneofthelessobvious wayswecanmakeourselveslesslikeabrick. FUNDAMENTAL#2SWIMWITHYOURBODY ManyoftheswimmersIteachatTheRaceClubcomefromstrongaerobicprogramsthathavegiven themagoodbaseoffitness.Thefreestylestroketheyuseisveryflat;likeapaddleboardorasurfboard

thatgrewarmsandlegs.Icallitthesurvivalstroke,becauseitisthetypeofstrokeoneadoptswhenone istryingtosurvivealong,toughset,suchas10x400withtensecondsrest.Itisalsothestrokeyou wouldchooseifyourplanecrashedinthemiddleoftheAtlanticandyouneededtoswimtoshore.Butit doesnotenableonetoswimfast. Inordertoswimfast,onemustlearntoswimwiththebody,notjustthearmsandlegs.Swimming withthebodyentailsarotationalongthepathway(longaxis)thatincorporatesmovementsofthe shoulders,hipsandcoretovaryingdegrees.Italsoinvolveswork.Noonesaidswimmingfastwaseasy. Whydoesthisrotationofourbodyenableustoswimfaster?Icanthinkofatleastthreegoodreasons. First,fastswimmersdontrotatetheirbodieslikerotisseriechickens.Theysnaptheirshouldersorhips fromonesidetotheother.Thisquickrotationrequiresevenmorework,butthespeedoftherotation helpstransferenergyintotheforwardmotion,muchlikeatorpedospinsasitgoesdownthegunbarrel. Second,byrotatingourbodywepositionourpropulsivearmintoastrongermechanicalposition, engagingmoremusclegroups,particularlyinourbackandcorethatenableustocreatemorepower. Third,andperhapsmostimportant,istheunderstandingofwhilewearetryingtoholdthewaterwith ourhandandarm,whatexactlyarewepullingagainst?Dr.JanPrins,abiomechanicalexpertatthe UniversityofHawaii,oncedidastudywithabaseballpitcherwhowasabletothrowtheballfroma pitchingmoundatabout60milesperhour.2However,whenthesamepitcherjumpedinthepoolinto deepwaterandtriedtothrowasfastaspossible,thevelocityoftheballwasabouthalf.Theonly differencewasthatinthepooltherewasnothingsolidorstablelikethepitchingmoundtopushagainst withthethrow.Itiseasytounderstandwherewegeneratethepowerfromourstartsandturns becausewehaveastablestartingblockorwalltopushoffof.Whataboutinthemiddleofthepool? Whatarewepullingagainstouttherewhereitisjustthewaterandus?Theanswerisourcore.Inthe caseofswimming,thecoreisnotstable,butmovinginacounterrotationtoourpull.Weinitiatethe catchattheendofthehiprotation(theconnection)andcontinuetoholdthewaterasthehipcounter rotatestogenerateaforcetopullagainst.Thecounterrotationofourcoreisourpitchingmound. Someofmycampershaveaskedmeifwhenwerotateourbodiesfromsidetoside,dowereduce forwarddrag?Possibly,butIreallydontknowtheanswer.Regardless,believingthatfirstthreereasons touseourbodieswhileswimmingarevalidonesisgoodenoughforme. MikeBottom,oneofthemostsuccessfulsprintcoachesintheworld,hasfurtherdefinedswimming withthebodyintothreedifferentstylesoffreestyle;shoulderdriven,hipdrivenandbody(core) driven.3Shoulderdrivenusesahigherstrokerateandbecausethearmsareturningoverfaster,lesship rotation.Thefastestsprintersalluseashoulderdriventechnique.Hipdrivenfreestyleusesalower strokeratebutinordertodowell,requiresstronglegsandmorehiprotationtosustainspeed.Body drivenfreestyleoccurswhenthehipsandshouldersrotatemoreuniformlytogetherandisequatedin Mikesprogramwithastraightarmrecovery. Doesastraightarmfreestylerecoveryhelponetoswimwiththebody?Sincethearmflexes(moves forward)intheshoulderjointmuchbetterthanitextends(movesbackward),theonlywayonecanuse

astraightarm,overthetopfreestylerecoveryistorotatetheshoulderstothenearverticalposition.It justdoesntworkanyotherway.Therefore,thestraightarmrecoverymayforceaswimmertousehis bodymorethanhemightotherwisedo.Oncetheshoulderisrotatedback,recoveringwithastraight armisactuallythemostrelaxedbiomechanicalpositionpossibleforthearm.Bendingtheelbowcauses moremusclecontractionintheshoulderthanthestraightarmrecoverydoes. Therearesomegreatdrillstohelpyoulearntouseyourbodymoreeffectivelywhenyouswim.Oneof myfavoritesisthe3stroke,6kickdrillwhereyouholdonehandoveryourheadandtheotheratyour sidewiththeheaddown.Theshoulderofthebackhandshouldbeheldintheverticalpositionabove thewaterfor6straightkicks,followedby3deliberatearmstrokesbringingtheshouldersbackwith eachstroketotheverticalposition,thensixmorekicksontheoppositeside.Practicethisdrillwith eitherthestraightarmorbentarmrecoveryandyouwillreallygetthefeelingthatyourentirecoreis beingusedtocreatethepowerinyourpull.JustlikeTigerWoodsuseshisbodytodriveagolfballor TomBradyuseshisbodytothrowthefootball,whethershoulderdriven,hipdrivenorcoredriven,all greatswimmerswillusetheirbodiestoenablethemtoswimfast. FUNDAMENTAL#3SWIMONTHEFREEWAY Ifyoueverlookedonthestickeronanewcarwindow,youmayhavenoticedthattherearetwo numbersgivenforfuelconsumption.ThehighergasmileageusuallysaysHighwayunderneathitandthe lowervaluereferstowhatyoumightexpecttogetaroundtown.Didyoueverstoptowonderwhyyou mightget30milespergallononthehighway,drivingat65milesperhour,whileintown,averagingsay 30milesperhour,youmayonlyget22milespergallon? Theanswerisbasedonsomethingcalledinertia.Inertiasimplymeansthatitismoreefficienttokeep somethingmovingsteadilythanitistogetitmovinginthefirstplace,thenhaveitslowdownorstop, andfinallygetitmovingagain.Ifyoueverhadtopushacarfromadeadstop,youwillappreciate inertiamore.Ormorerelevanttoaswimmer,ifyouhaveeverhadthemisfortuneofcompletely misjudgingthewallonaturnandtopushoffagainstonlywater,youwillalsounderstandinertia.The amountofenergyrequiredtogetyourbodybackuptoracespeedfromthatdeadstopinthewateris overwhelming. Inertiaisjustasimportanttoaswimmerinthewaterasitistoacaronthefreeway,orperhapseven more.Thissimplymeansthatthemostefficientwaytoswimistosustainasclosetothesamespeed, whateverthatmightbe,forthedurationoftheswimstrokecycle.Becauseourlongarmsserveasboth ourprimarysourceofpowerandalsothecauseofsignificantdrag,itisimpossiblewithourhuman designtomaintainaconstantvelocityduringtheswimcycle.InarecentSwimmingWorldarticle, GenadijusSokolovas,PhD,directorofsportscienceforUSAswimming,showedthatwithafreestyler whocanaverage2meterspersecond,thespeedwillvaryfromaround2.5meterspersecondatthe fastestpointto1.5meterspersecondattheslowest.4Freestyleandbackstrokecometheclosestto

beingthefreewaystrokesbecausethearmsarepullingnonuniformly,allowingthespeedtoremain moreconstant.Healsoshowedthattherangeofspeedinthebutterflyandbreaststrokecycleismuch moreextreme,varyingfromover3meterspersecondinflyatthefastestpointtolessthan1meterper secondattheslowest.Inbreaststroke,therangeofspeedmayrangefromover2meterspersecondto lessthanmeterpersecondduringthestrokecycle.Bytheirdesign,withmostofthepropulsion occurringwitharmsorlegsworkinguniformlyandsimultaneously,butterflyandbreaststrokeare inefficient,stopandgostrokes. Sothequestionis,evenifwecannotgetonthefreewayinflyorbreast,howdowegetonthefreeway withfreeandbackstroke?Tounderstandhow,onemustfirstunderstandthestrokecycle.Thefastest speedinthecycleoccurswhenthearmsareinthemoststreamlinedpositions,whichareinfrontofus orattheveryendoftheunderwaterstroke.Theslowestspeedinthecycleoccurswhenweareinthe leaststreamlinedposition,whichoccurswhenourupperarmsareprotrudingeitherdown(dropped elbow)orout(highelbow)butaremoreorlessperpendiculartoourbodyline.Whatisalso misunderstoodaboutthefreestyleandbackstrokepullcycleisthenotionthateacharmisworking separately;inotherwords,whileonearmisunderwatertheotherisontopandviceversa.Thatisnot true.Withanyefficientandfastfreestyler,whenonehandentersthewaterfortheunderwaterpull,the otherhandisusuallyunderwaterataroundthechintoshoulderlevel.Thatnotonlymeansthatboth handsaresimultaneouslyunderwaterforsomeperiod,italsomeansthatthetimespentholdingthe waterfromtheoutstretchedarmatentrytowhenthehandisattheshoulderlevelisthesameasthe timeittakesforthehandtoacceleratethroughtheunderwaterpullandmakethecompleteoutof waterrecoveryandreenterthewater.Inotherwords,inthetimeittakestomakeacompletestroke witheacharm,halfofthattimeisspentinthesmallspacebetweentheoutstretchedhandenteringthe wateruntilthehandandshoulderareeven.Itishereinthisspace,Ibelieve,thatthegreatestpoweris derivedfromthefreestyleandbackstrokepull. Ifoneweretoexaminethevelocityofthebodyinrelationtoeachindividualhandposition(asthat relatestothebody),onecouldeasilycometothewrongconclusionaboutwherethegreatestpoweris derived.Thereasonisthatthehighestvelocityisachievedwhenthetrailinghandisreleasingfromthe water,leavingonetothinkthatthepowerisgeneratedfromtheendofthestroke.Butonemustalso considerthatbythetimethetrailinghandisexitingthewater,theleadinghandisnowinfrontinthe catchpositionandthatiswheremostofthepoweriscomingfrom,notthetrailinghand. BrettHawke,sprintcoachatAuburnUniversity,describesthederivationofpower,whenthehandis outinfrontofus,asoriginatingfromthecoreandextendingthroughtheback,chest,shoulderand downthefrontarm.5Iagreewithhim,asthisispartofthefundamentalofswimmingwiththeentire body,notjustthearms.Ifyouagreewithusthatthebulkofpropulsivepowerisgeneratedatthe beginningofthestrokecycle,notinthemiddle,whenthearmsareinaverydisadvantageousposition fromastreamlineperspective,norattheend,wherefrankly,abouttheonlymuscleleftworkingisthe tricepmuscle,leavinglittlesourceofpower,thenhowdoesthishelpusunderstandhowtobestsustain ourbodyspeedwhileswimming?Howdoesthishelpustakeadvantageofinertia?

Theansweristokeeponearminthepowerpositioninfrontatalltimes.Sincewehaveonlytwo armsandtheonlypathtogetbacktothepowerpositionisbygoingthroughthestrokecycle,there willalwaysbesomedelayingettingthehandbacktothepowerposition.Toobadwedonthavethree armswhichcouldworkmorelikeapropeller,allowingonearmtoremaininthepowerpositionatall times.Unfortunately,sincewearebricks,themomentweleavethepowerposition,weimmediately begintoslowdown.Therefore,thequickerwecangetthehandbacktothepowerpositioninfront (higherstrokerate),thelesstimewewillhavetoslowdownandthebetterwewillmaintainourspeed. Nowthereisacatchtothis(nopunintended).Ifweturnovertoofastandloseourcatchorholdofthe water,thenwelosemorethanwegainandbegintoslowdownagain.Thesecretistobeabletoturn overfast,yetstayincontrolofholdingthewater;easiersaidthandone. Finally,wemustnotforgetourlegs,arguablythemostneglectedpartofourstroke.Dependingon howstrongtheyare,thelegsnotonlyprovidepropulsivepower,butinfreeandbackstroke,assuminga 6beatkickisused,theyprovidethepowermorecontinuously(fasterstrokerate)thanthearms, contributingsignificantlytoamoresustainedspeed.Thisfactisparticularlytruewithhipdriven freestylers,likeMichaelPhelpsandIanThorpe,whouseaslowerstrokerate,holdinglongerinfront, butdependonmassivelegstrengthtosustaintheirspeedandstayonthefreeway.Thelegsnotonly providethisimportantconsistentpropulsion,butalsoprovidesignificantlifttothebody,reducingdrag andmakinguslesslikebricksinthewater.Legsarecrucialtoaswimmerandprovidepropulsion,liftand sustainedspeed.Trainyourlegshard. Thechallengeforacoachishowtogettheswimmeroutofstopandgotrafficandontothefreeway? ThebestdrillIhavefoundtoaccomplishthisistoincorporatethedolphinkickwithfreestyleor backstroke.Thetrickistoswimwithaonekicktoonepullratio.Byhavingtokeepupwiththelegswith thisdrill,theswimmerwillgetintoamuchfasterstrokeratethanheorshecustomarilyuses.Oncethey getaccustomedtothestrokeratetheycanthenswitchbacktoaflutterkickwithoutslowingthearm ratedown.MichaelKlimofAustraliaactuallyconvertedtodolphinkickwithhisfreestyleinthelast10 metersorsoofhisworldrecord100m.leadoffinthe4x100freestylerelayintheSydneyOlympics. Thepurposewastokeepuphisstrokerateatatimewhenitwouldnormallyslowintherace.Inother words,insteadofgettingontheofframpattheendoftherace,thedolphinkickkepthimonthe freeway. Inconclusion,justrememberthateventhoughwemaynotbeideallydesignedtomovefastthrough thewater,withtrainingandattentiontodetails,wecangetprettydarnedgoodatit.Asacoachora swimmer,justrememberthethreefundamentalsoffastswimmingandpractice,practice,practice. 1. CounsilmanJECompetitiveSwimmingManual.CounsilmanCo.,Inc.1977. 2. PrinsJHDescriptiveandKinematicAnalysisofSelectedAquaticSkillsofSwimmerswith PermanentPhysicalDisabilities.ArchivesofPhysicalMedicineandRehabilitation.87,33,Nov 2006.

3. BottomMTheThreeStylesofFreestyle.DVDfromTheRaceClub.www.theraceclub.com2008. 4. SokolovasGAnalysisofSwimmingVelocityDuringtheSwimCycle.SwimmingWorldMagazine June2009. 5. QuickR,HawkeBFasterFastSprintFreestyle.DVDfromwww.coachrichardquick.com2008.