The key to fast swimming is just like the key to driving a freight train: It’s all about constant momentum. With a train, once the momentum gets started, it’s easy for the entire train to continue moving because of the mass behind it. The same principle applies in swimming except that, in swimming, it’s TECHNIQUE more than MASS that keeps us moving forward.
Our goal in swimming is CONSTANT forward motion, but sometimes we try too hard and end up with stop-and-go motion. For example, if you try too hard on your breaststroke kick, you’ll set up for a really big kick and this can actually slow you down. This drill uses a VISUAL CUE to teach you what it’s like to keep moving… constantly. The goal of this drill is to never get a crystal-clear look at the tiles on the bottom of the pool. The goal is to make them all blur together… constantly. If you have a "dead spot" in your kick — a place where you’ve lost your momentum by making too big of a setup — you’ll know it immediately because the tiles will become all too clear.
Why Do It:
Learning what it feels like to ALWAYS be moving forward is a good thing. Building that feeling into all your strokes is a GREAT thing.
How To Do It:
1. We’re going to use dolphin kick, but you can use flutter kick or breaststroke kick, too. Push off as deep as your pool allows. The closer you get to the bottom, the better this drill will work. If you’re too far away from the tiles, your visual cues won’t be as strong. If you’ve chosen a DEEP lane, this drill will be tough, and you may have to have the teacher show you exactly how deep to go.
2. Get as close to the bottom as you can, and directly over the line. If your pool has painted lines instead of tiles, look for dirt spots flying by.
3. Start kicking dolphin kick and keep your eyes on the tiles. If the tiles remain blurry until the end of the length – good job. If the tiles become clear, try increasing your speed, but do it by making FASTER movements rather than BIGGER movements. Bigger movements may FEEL faster, but this is usually because they require more effort, not because they’re more efficient. Smaller, more consistent movements are usually more effective for maintaining momentum. Experiment.
How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Make sure you get a HUGE breath of air prior to going so you don’t have to worry about popping up to soon.
Find a lane that allows you to make it all the way to the bottom.
Place all your attention on the tiles and keeping them blurred. Experiment with various kicks, with and without fins, fast and slow. Also make sure you have a VERY tight streamline — that’s going to help a TON.