The technique of swimming is quite complex. But when you break it down, it basically comes down to two elements: (1) creating propulsion to move forward and (2) minimizing your resistance in the water. Your body position plays a huge role in this, here is how.
Water is over 800 times more resistant than air. This means that when we move through the water, we experience much more drag then when we move through air. The most important type of resistance is form drag, or frontal drag. This is dependent on your body position in the water. The higher and tighter your body position, the lower the resistance, the easier and faster you swim.
How to do it
The main drivers of a high and streamlined body position are a stable head position, a tight core and the kick. Once you have these aligned, your swimming becomes easier AND efficient at the same time.
Make sure you keep your head in a neutral position and in-line with the rest of your body. Looking forward while swimming causes more frontal drag, so keep your head in the water and look down towards the bottom when you’re not breathing.
Since you’re floating in water, your core functions as a solid base during all swimming movements. Engaging your core keeps your body in a straight line, which makes you glide through the water more efficiently. Engage your core by just pulling in your belly button slightly. This will keep your core tight.
Last but not least, your feet should be high at the surface while swimming freestyle. A continuous flutter kick will keep your body high in the water. The kick doesn't have to be really strong, as long as you keep moving your feet. This prevents your feet from sinking, which causes frontal drag.
- Keep your head in line with your upper body, look straight down towards the bottom of the pool and let the water support the weight of your head
- When breathing, don’t lift your head, this will interrupt your body position. Just rotate it to the side while keeping your head in line with your body
- Keep your core engaged by pulling in your belly button slightly
- Keep your feet on the surface by kicking on an easy tempo. Don’t let them drop down, this increases your resistance in the water
Improving your body position is one of the first things we learn our swimmers when starting technique training. Practise your body position with some of our great video drills at SwimGym.com and start swimming more efficient, more easy or even faster by reducing your drag first.