Thursday, May 31, 2007

Keep Your Head Down - What that Really Means

"Keep your head down!" I've heard that mantra for years. Foolish me, I never really understood the premise until earlier this week when I spoke with a swim coach with a remarkable personal best time in 100 meter freestyle. Needless to say, I listened. I had asked him what his secret was. He didn't really think he had one but was more than happy to demonstrate his stroke technique (on dry land). He talked about keeping one's head down. Great, I thought. How many times have I heard that before? What was different was that he went on further to explain - a good thing since I always thought that the expression meant to just put your face in the water and not be looking up (with a dry face). NO! I was wrong. He showed me (another guy had come up and was listening too) that simply putting one's face in the water is not enough, even if the water (like me) comes nearly up to your earlobe. If you are looking forward, unless your face is streamlined, you have in essence put up a flat block in front of you and are blocking the slipstream of water past you. You must defeat that effect by dropping your head further and point your nose at the bottom of the pool to get the streamline effect. I've been working on this since. It will take some effort to get comfortable but I look forward to improved results. In the mean time, I could use someone to ride in a boat beside me to slap me on the back of the head when I don't "keep my head down."

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