While watching practice last night, I became very aware that many swimmers have "signatures" to their pushoffs. These signatures broadcast the intent of the next length.
1 – Push off angled toward the surface: These very short pushoffs are instinctual and typically performed by people who still haven’t gotten the understanding that the surface is your enemy in this sport. These I like to classify as just plain silly, or take from it that the athlete has simply thrown in the towel on wanting to be an actual competitive swimmer. They’re using the training as a way to stay fit.
2 – Push off flat or parallel to the surface: Like most things in between (or average), it’s difficult to tell exactly what the intent of these pushoffs is. Is the swimmer running out of air because they’re training hard, or is this just an instinctual direction of their pushoff? Was there any thought in this at all, or was it just going through the motions? Tough to tell.
3 – Push off at a downward angle into underwater dolphins: LOVE THIS KID! Every wall carries with it the opportunity for improvement, or, are you trying to build habits that are useful for your long-term swimming? There is hope for this swimmer to reach his potential… only HOPE. Without this type of focus or habit, I’m afraid hope starts to disappear.