One of the quickest ways to swim faster times in the pool, whether in meets or practice, is to work the walls more efficiently. If you watch super fast swimmers at the elite level you will notice they all turn well. While you may not swim as fast as they do you certainly can learn to take advantage of the tremendous push off of the wall. And to do so is remarkably simple.
The two main components are depth of the push off and the streamlined body position.
The "cleanest" water in the pool is between three feet and five feet under the surface. The top three feet are turbulent due to the disturbance you have created by swimming into the wall. Once you get below that turbulence you get "clean" water, i.e. more stable water you can get leverage on for moving forward again. Also, if you get deeper than five feet when you begin kicking the wave action created from your legs will bounce off the bottom. If you swim in a pool that is shallower than 7 feet you will need to adjust the depth upward accordingly. (A pool six feet deep will have an optimum underwater range of something in the 2.5 - 4 foot depth, as an example)
A way to measure this is simply push off on the surface and glide until you stop. See where you are on the lane line or side of the pool. Repeat three feet under and you will gain several inches or even a foot more distance. So push off the walls down into the clean water to gain additional distance without even swimming another stroke.
A streamlined body presents less resistance to the water and therefore allows the force used to move it further. A sports car cuts through the air much cleaner than a snow plow...forget the horsepower issue! (If you took the snow plow off the truck it would be faster!)
The three simple things to consider when streamlining your body as you push from the wall are: 1) put one hand on top of the other while gently squeezing your ears with your biceps; 2) pull your belly button up into your spine to reduce mid body sag; 3) point your toes toward the wall you just pushed off from.
If you will come off the wall in clean water (deeper down) with a streamlined body position you will travel farther with the same amount of effort. That is an excellent thing!
Let us know how it goes for you!
Quote for the Week
"Long course swimming is the truth serum of our sport"
Terry Stoddard...Head Coach Swim Pasadena