Have you ever watched a swimmer and been struck by the sheer force, grace, speed and efficiency with which they rip through the water?
There’s nothing more exhilarating than hitting your stride in the water, becoming one with it, pushing yourself beyond your limits… it almost feels like flying!
It seems impossible right? Well (with tremendous amounts of practice) it isn’t! Here are some tips to help you nail the most difficult and impressive stroke of all.
On your chest, initiate a dolphin kick with your core by pressing your chest down and lifting your hips up. As you dolphin kick down with your legs, incorporate the arms by pulling your hands into your chest and then out to your sides, accelerating towards a strong push-up. Just as you are about to bring your arms up out of the water and over your head, give the second dolphin kick and push your body up. Lift your head above the water, keeping your chin tilted down close to the surface, and take a quick breath. Your head should be back in the water as the arms end the recovery phase and begin the pull, so it’s a very quick inhalation!
Swimming backstroke has the advantage of easy breathing, but the disadvantage of not being able to see where you’re going! It’s a relaxed stroke which is easy to learn but tricky to master.
Start by floating on your back with the water level covering your ears. Look up and back at the ceiling. Keeping your legs close together and lined up below your hips, do flutter kicks (from the hips rather than the knees, send a smooth, whip-like ripple down through your toes). As you kick, lift one arm out of the water over your head, leading with your shoulder. Keeping your arm straight, circle your arm back down into the water (your thumb should leave the water first and enter it last). When your arm hits the water, bring it down, rotating your palm outwards and downwards, and back to your side, ready to be lifted out of the water again. As you do this, raise the other arm and perform the same fluid motion repeatedly.
Start on your front, doing steady flutter kicks with straight legs close together. Reach one hand forward over your head, with the elbow slightly bent, to enter the water. ‘Catch’ the water by applying a downward pressure on it, with the palm facing down and out so the thumb first enters the water first. Then, pull your arm back (with a slight bend in the elbow) and sweep it out of the water. Bring it back overhead and repeat with the opposite arm.
To breathe in, turn your head smoothly to one side as your body rotates with the stroke. As you inhale, keep your opposite arm extended in front of you. After taking a breath, turn your face quickly and smoothly back into the water in time with the rotation of your shoulders. Exhale underwater before inhaling again after 3-5 strokes.
Are you new to this sport? Would you like to learn about the four swimming strokes? Book a trial Swimming Session at one of our private pool based in London and master the four swimming strokes today! For more info click here.