We all know the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. As coaches we have seen this to be true more often than not. While not everyone fits the mold of a visual learner, many do. Some are verbal learners while yet others figure things out kinesthetically.
One of the basic ingredients to faster swimming is the line you hold in the water. This is critical to efficiency and ultimately speed as well. We did two things this past week to address the issue of body line in the pool.
First of all, we tied short tethers with a bungee cord to our swimmers and had them swim out to the resistance point, had them swim several strokes at that point and then immediately go into a streamlined position and feel their "place" in the water as the cord pulled them back. It gave them a heightened sense of how their body molds into the water around them. Then we had them on a long bungee that went the entire 25 yards. We had them get into a completely streamlined position and then we pulled them the entire 25 yards. Our power plus the contraction gave them a "speed ride" that put big smiles on their faces. At the same time we asked them to lift and then lower their head to feel the very real effects of streamlined vs. non-streamlined body position. They all "got it" when towed at a fast speed. The line is critical to speed.
The other thing we did was to share with them the 30 second video clip that Jim Sugar showed us. Jim is on our North Bay Aquatics Masters team and is a professional videographer (among other things see his award winning documentary "Swimming in a Dream" on YouTube). When you click on the link below you will see at the beginning and the end a perfect picture of Ryan Lochte breaking the surface while disturbing the water minimally. We have worked on this a lot this week, every day. We are seeing improvements. It may take a while to see it in meets but we are seeing it in practice which is the first step.