So you want to swim fast? An introduction to drag (PART TWO!).

In the last ORR blog, I introduced you to the first facet of swimming fast and provided you with the first 5 of my top 10 drills. If you missed the article, CLICK HERE. In this article, I am going to illustrate the next 5 drills that will help to improve your balance and alignment in the water. Each drill can be performed with or without long fins.

6. Kicking on stomach with hands by sides: Start face down in the water, head in neutral position aligned with your spine and hands by your sides. Complete small compact kicks. Rotate to breath to the side. Lead with the hips and focus on rotating as one unit. Aim to keep the lower goggle in the water and exhaling throughout the rotation.

 

7. Extended side balance: Begin on your side with lower arm stretched out and reaching forward. It should be just below the surface of the water. Aim to press the ear on to your shoulder. Head can be in a neutral and aligned position in the water with eyes looking slightly towards the lead hand. Belly button should be facing the side wall. Exhale while the head is in the water and then when turning the head to breathe, aim to have one goggle in and one goggle out of the water (since this is the ideal position for your head when you are rotating to breathe) Top arm is by your side. Use a regular kick while paying attention to keep the legs straight and not bending at the knee. Do one length of the pool on one side and then switch to the opposite side.

 

8. Side balance: This drill is performed the same as the previous drill however, both arms are placed at the sides. Perform this drill initially with fins. Rotation can be added to this drill, whereby you start in a side position and then slowly rotate to the opposite side. Aim to keep the body long and aligned as you rotate. Hold the position on each side before repeating the rotation.

9. Shark Fin: Begin this drill in the Extended side balance position (drill #7). Slowly slide your upper arm to a shark fin position as illustrated below and then return it to your side. This drill can also be practiced in the side balance position (drill #8). The shark fin position will challenge your balance and will also help you become comfortable with the high elbow recovery that will set you up for your hand entry.

 

10. Torpedo kick off the wall:  This is similar to the underwater push off the wall (drill #4). However, this drill is performed on the surface of the water. Push off from the wall with your arms outstretched and hands together and your face in the water. Kick vigorously until you need to take a breath. Stop and swim slowly back to the wall. The focus should be on pointing your toes and pointing them slightly inwards so that the big toes almost brush together and on kicking from the hip. Keep your knees relaxed (but not bent) and drive from the hip. You should feel your gluteus (bottom) muscles being engaged.

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In the next ORR blog, we will look at the second component of swimming fast - propulsion. Until then, work hard at mastering these drills.  The benefits may just surprise you.

~Karen Allen Turner - ORR and QT2 Coach



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