Just as streamline is the most important POSITION in swimming, the dolphin motion has become the most important MOVEMENT in our sport. With all the rule changes and stroke changes over the last decade, the dolphin motion has become universal — the one movement we use in all the strokes. We use it, of course, in butterfly. We use it to gain an edge on our pushoffs in butterfly, backstroke, and freestyle (some swimmers even use it for an edge in freestyle). And now, we can use it even on the pulldown in breaststroke…and somewhat during the stroke.
Here’s a drill that will help you grasp the technique needed to stablize the body as you undulate — or rotate — at the hips and at your core.
Why Do It:
The dolphin motion can aid in just about every aspect of competitive swimming. It helps you maintain great speed off every wall. It helps you connect every part of the body into one unit to generate power while conserving energy. High-level competitive swimming requires that you be adept at this skill, so practicing it in 360 degrees — in every position — is KEY to helping you reach your potential.
How To Do It:
1. Push off the wall in a tight streamline. To simplify the process, push off on your stomach. You can start on your side, but until you learn to be stable on your stomach, you should stick with the stomach. It’s the simplest position for learning.
2. Take the designated number of kicks that you decided to take. We’re showing our swimmer only doing 2 kicks, yet, this drill gets a bit tricky, and if the swimmer isn’t balanced enough on any of the sides, you may want to start with 3 or 4 kicks. Of course, you’ll eventually have to worry about air as well.
3. After taking two (or more) kicks on your stomach, rotate your body to one side. Either side is fine; pick a direction and go with it. Take two kicks on your side, then roll to your back. Two kicks on your back, then continue to roll to the other side…two kicks.
4. When you end up on your stomach again, you’ll probably need air. Take a quick stroke or two (single-arm fly works well), then repeat the 360 sequence.
How To Do It Well (the Fine Points):
The most important part of this drill is getting to each position, and HOLDING there for a couple kicks. Don’t flow from position to position but, rather, LOCK into each position. Stabilize there and feel your body connecting from fingertips to toes.
Maintain the streamline position through the entire drill, and drive your hands and head directly to the other end, no matter WHICH side you’re on.