Sometimes an often overlooked aspect for swimming greatness is the time spent underwater off of your start, and each of your turns. This is a huge mistake! Swimmers will never be as fast in the middle of the pool as they are when coming off the wall, or starting block. Why would this be? The answer is simple! You get to push first! In fact, coming off of the wall in a pool is the same thing as jumping off the floor. If you jump off of a solid floor, you’ll go higher than you would jump off of sand, for example. Coming off the wall in the pool is the same concept. The better you can use this strength, the further you will travel down the pool, and the less strokes you’ll have to take! Some key points to remember;
- Set the balls of your feet on the wall. No need for your heel to be touching here!
- Keep your feet shoulder width apart. A very common mistake, even among world-class swimmers is to push-off the wall with their feet close together (some even do it when touching!). Why is this better? Try jumping off the floor with your feet touching. Now, do it again with them shoulder width apart. Where is your power?
- Have your legs at approximately a 90 degree angle. There is no need to have your heals close to your butt.
- When pushing off, connect your core to your legs. A good way to remember this is to squeeze your butt, and your gut. This “butt-gut” squeeze will enable you to maximize your velocity off of the wall. Stay relaxed when doing this. The push-off is a timing issue, as opposed to a muscular endeavor.
- Streamline! There should be no open space between your arms and your head. Place one hand on top of the other, and wrap the top thumb around the bottom hand.
- Stay under for 3-4 seconds while executing an aggressive dolphin kick.
You are now ready to experience free speed! In combining all of the above techniques, you are guaranteed to come off of the wall faster, easier, and with more velocity than your opponents. Not only that, but you’ll also travel further than they do!