Last week we started a simple progression for learning the underwater dolphin. This week we’ll progress to the next part of the sequence.
Why Do It:
The underwater dolphin is the single most important skill for all swimmers to master. It should be used in every event in competitive swimming. Simply put, if you’re not great at this skill, you limit your potential as a competitive swimmer.
How to Do It:
1. Review the head-lead dolphin movement from last week.
2. To advance to the next stage, simply move your hands to a streamline position in front. While streamline is the most effective position when executing this move in a race or in practice, it’s OK to to use locked thumbs (instead of perfect streamline) in the learning stage. This will allow you a bit more freedom of movement through your chest and torso.
3. Start on your stomach, and focus on keeping the hands about 6" below the surface of the water. Think about pushing the fingertips directly forward.
4. Use the abs and hips to generate the undulating movement that travels through to the feet. Do your best not to bend the knees too much, but allow the knees and feet to react to the movement of the hips.
5. Flip over on your back and continue the same movement.
6. While on your back, be careful not to allow your hands to travel out of the water. Keep them below the surface. This will stretch out your abs, and keep your back flatter.
7. With your legs, try to allow just the knees and a bit of the thighs to touch the surface of the water.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Think about staying fairly rigid from the fingers to the head, but allow the body to start flowing from the head/shoulder area. Be careful not to brace with your palms at any point of this drill, but spear with the fingertips. Also try not to let your hips sink while you’re on your back, which will require you to KICK and BEND your legs too much. If you’re struggling for air while learning the underwater dolphin, use a centermount snorkel to allow you to practice this drill for a longer period of time.