Backstroke - Underwater Dolphin - Size

Mar 31, 2009
Backstroke - Underwater Dolphin - Size

To honor our newly released DVD, Go Swim Backstroke with Margaret Hoelzer, we're going to focus on the underwater dolphin in backstroke.  This is a quick look at something Margaret discusses on her DVD... what size should your dolphin kick be?

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 - Watch one of the best, Margaret Hoelzer, on her DVD.

Why Do It:
In backstroke, finding the optimal SIZE for you underwater dolphin kicks is extremely important.  If your underwater dolphin is too big, it may FEEL powerful, but could be creating too much resistance.  If your underwater dolphin is too small, it may feel FAST, but it may mean that you're not grabbing enough water to move you forward.   Generally in swimming, there's a point between too big and too small that's JUST right.  So let the search begin.

How to Do It:
1.  Start by pushing off on your back in a tight streamline and initiate your underwater dolphin using as LARGE of a kick as you can.  Kick up, and down, with great force.  Do your best to stay streamlined, and come up where you normally would.
2.  Start the same way as in step one, only this time, take as many small, quick kicks as you can.  Go as fast as you can on this part of the drill, moving your feet as quickly as possible.
3.  Push off, and do your best to combine the two previous steps.  It'll be tough to make it BIG and QUICK, so you'll have to compromise just a bit between the two.
4.  Continue practicing, finding the best combination of size and quickness that gives you the best underwater dolphin for YOUR body.

How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Measure it.  Count it.  Time it.  While you may be able to figure out what FEELS the best, without concrete data you'll simply be figuring out what feels good.  Measure or decide where you want your breakout to be, count the number of kicks, and decide if you need more or less. Time how long it takes you to get to your breakout point.  Make adjustments to make it take LESS time.

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