Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wasted Motion Means Wasted Energy

When I watch a novice adult swimmer, I am often amazed at all the effort that is being used -with no positive effect. Often the splash is huge, the waves large and the forward momentum near zero. What's wrong? Well I've already mentioned the torpedo profile at least a dozen times in this blog. Maintaining that profile is half the battle. It allows you to cut through the water and let it slide past with ease. So what's up with the thrashing arms and legs you see so many people using? It's total waste of motion and energy. The motion is not being applied appropriately. Swimming in a nutshell is a case of levers and fulcrums along with thrusts, pulls and pushes - each applied properly. The problem isn't just with novice swimmers. Even good swimmers could use a little "skinny swimming" - this is a term I picked up from a woman who was happy to share a lane with me one day when all the other lanes were full. She said she would practice her "skinny swimming." In essense, skinny swimming is deliberate swimming whereby you keep your arms straight ahead and along side your body while your legs stretch out behind. You do this, maintaining a profile as close to an arrow as possible. No wasted motion. Don't swing your arms out (like an eagle), or even straight up (like a windmill). What's the point? You aren't pulling anything but air if your arms are far out of the water. It may look cool, but you are only fooling yourself. Arms that stretch out of the water more than an inch or two are just using energy to fight gravity - that's all. Use that effort and apply it once you've reached the topmost point of your stretch, then apply it to a stronger, longer pull through the water.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah I got that ... but that's only with the novices ...I mean I never saw any in my friends circle who got used to this 'skinny swimming' ...As a kid I might be but not now.....


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