Swimming well is all about swimming efficiently. In order to swim efficiently, we must reduce our body’s drag in the water as much as possible. There are key factors that reduce drag in the water. Those keys are body line, body balance, and body roll.

To become fast in the water, we must first become efficient. It does us little good to practice “bad swimming”. All we accomplish is staying slow at “bad swimming”. We must become proficient to become efficient! Therefore, it is vital to drill, drill, drill when we are first learning, rather than swimming sets while flailing around. You would also be wise to allocate some of your triathlon funds first towards swimming lessons with a qualified triathlon or swim coach, rather than towards fancy new equipment.

Body line:
●Body in straight line, as if standing with perfect “model” posture. Picture a book on head. Translate that vertical posture to horizontal position in water.
●Head position in neutral, ears in line with shoulders, chin tucked back. Can practice lying prone with head and shoulders off edge of bed, arms back by sides
●When kicking, legs stay within “body cylinder” about 1.5 feet around your body
Body balance:
●Press your “lung buoy” down
●Head position determines hip position-neutral head will keep legs and hips up
●Water line at top of forehead so top of head out of water. Don’t bury head
●Eyes look about 5 ft in front of you but at bottom of pool
●Small flutter kick from hips-activate glut muscles
●Small part of buttocks out of water
Body roll:
●Roll from side to side
●Maintain body line as you roll, don’t lift head
●Turn head to side to breath as you roll. Important to roll equally well to both sides. If so, you will be able to breath to both sides.

Arm Cycle:
●Hand enters water 1/2 way between head and elbow of opposite arm as it’s stretched out overhead
●Fingers enter in straight plane like putting them into a mail slot
●After arm is straight, contine to reach forward with arm pit, arm about 6 inches under water surface
●Catch water with cocked wrist
●Rotate shoulder inwards, bending elbow to 90 degrees to form large paddle with arm
●Pull body forward past arm, think of rope climbing with hand “fixed”, body moving
●Finish pull with hand deep in hip pocket
●Release when hand comes out of water at full arm extension with hand back by thigh
●Recover with elbow lifting out of water first, like a puppet on string, forearm and fingers dangling down relaxed
●Rotate body and extend arm out to enter water again
●Keep arms out wide, like swimming on railroad tracks
●Power comes from rotation of trunk. Rotation starts at the arm and shoulder during the reach, moves to the trunk, and carries on down to the hips and legs so the whole body rotates as much as 60 degrees. Power comes from the trunk,hips and legs rotating back to center during the pull phase
●Starts with forced exhalation through mouth and/or nose when face is down
●Inhale at end of body roll with slight extra head rotation so one half of goggle comes out of water
●Looking into arm pit when breathing prevents lifting of head
●Re-establish head position as quickly as possible
●Breath alternating sides
●Every 3-5 strokes
●Not particularly forceful
●Flutter motion from the hips, small and steady
●2-beat kick most common-when left leg kicks twice for each complete cycle of the right arm
●Also 4-beat and 6-beat used for surging or sprinting
●Increase rate of kick rather than size when sprinting-remember, keep kick within body cylinder

Swim aids:
●Snorkel, strongly recommended for beginners so attention can be focused on particular components of technique and not breathing. Also recommended instead of a kickboard during kick drills because it promotes body line and balance
●Fins good to help develop strong leg muscles and stronger kick. Good to use with drills that have little or slow arm movement in order to keep speed up
●Paddles used to develop stronger arm muscles and power. Not recommended until form is perfected

Lap Pool Guidelines:
●Sharing of lap lanes is necessary when all lap lanes are full and appreciated when not
●When swimming in a shared lane, swim with a swimmer of equal ability when possible
●When sharing a lane arrange with other swimmer to either circle swim in CCW direction, or split the lane down the middle and each swimmer stays on side. Always try and keep a 5 second distance from the swimmer ahead of you if circle swimming
●When resting in a shared lane stay to the right along the wall
●Remember to always look forward when swimming to avoid hitting anyone in the lane

Example Swim Workout:
A typical swim workout entails a warm up (WU), a drill set (DS), a main set (MS), kick set (KS), and a cool down (CD). A set is the number of times you perform the yardage called for followed by the rest time call for. For example, “8 x 25 w/ 10sec” means swim 25 yards then rest 10 seconds and repeat that 8 times. The following is an example of a beginner swim workout:

WU 200
DS 8 x 25 w/10 sec
MS 4 x 100 w/15 sec
KS 8 x 25 w/15 sec
CD 200
total 1200 yds