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Starts – Forward Dive Sequence Step #5

Here is the long-awaited 5th step in the Forward Dive Sequence.

While you really had it all put together with step 4, this final step fine tunes just a bit using a standard tool for swimming, the stretch cord.

Why Do It:
For years, coaches have used the stretch cord to encourage swimmers to dive out FARTHER on their starts.  The theory was that you’d travel farther… and get there faster… if you flew through the air rather than plunge through the water with all its resistance.   But we’ve learned a lot in the past few years about starts.  This 5th step speaks not just to those trying to learn the start, but also to those trying to master a fast start.

How to Do It:
1. 
 If you’re new to this sequence, make sure you revisit the first 4 steps.
     •  Step 1
     •  Step 2
     •  Step 3
     •  Step 4
2.  Now, step up to the blocks and dive in.  Have a friend sight, and mark, the spot where you enter the water.
3.  At that spot, take the stretch cord, and tie it across the lane line.  While there are other products you can use to mark a spot in the water, if you ultimately end up hitting the cord, it will stretch and won’t hurt.
4.  Your goal now is not to dive OVER the cord, but to spear your body directly into the water and land prior to the cord.  
5.  While you won’t be going out nearly so far, there are a couple advantages of going into the water a bit sooner.
     •  You have less chance of smacking your body on the water.
     •  The sooner you get to the water, the sooner you can start using it to propel your body forward. 
     •  You’ll carry more momentum into the water and this will help propel you into faster swimming.

How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points)
Since you’re going to be hitting the water much faster, make sure you keep your hands tight on entry.  There’s a chance they can come apart when you hit the water this fast.  Don’t forget to point your toes so you don’t drag your feet.

Also, of UTMOST importance when practicing this, or any starts:  Make sure your pool is deep enough to practice safely.  This technique, while cleaning up the process, may initially cause you to go a bit deeper in the water.  This dive should only be practiced in a minimum of seven (7) feet of water.