KOW February 18, 2020
Common wisdom says there are only two ways to improve speed in swimming. Either increase propulsion or decrease resistance. For this lesson, we'll focus on decreasing resistance through better body balance.
We want to provide a better understanding of common principles that reduce form drag in all four strokes and can do that by focusing on Body Position, Head Position and Arm Position.
Let's look at Stand Up Paddleboarding and compare the board to the body and the paddle to the arms. The board is long, flat, streamlined and horizontal, whereas the body is shorter, rounder, bumpier and not well balanced. The paddler uses great muscular control to balance themselves on the board, so they float with steady horizontal alignment and without the board bouncing, wiggling or rolling. Swimmers should realize that purposeful attention to these very same factors is essential to creating good swimming posture.
That swimming stance should be with the head in line, and on top, of a straight and stable spine, tummy and belly button sucked in towards the spine and taut but not tight glutes (buns). This provides better torso balance and, by connecting the upper and lower body, keeps intact the overall kinetic chain. This is the single most important physical sensation to a swimmer because it occurs in all four strokes and while streamlining off the start and the turns.
Further, in order to move their board forwards, the paddler submerges the oars, which remain in a stationary position, as they use arm strength to accelerate the moving board past those points. They oars don't wiggle, relax or release too soon. All too often swimmers who are unaware of their limbs create additional and unnecessary resistance by positioning their arms, or oars, in ways that are counter-productive to the notion of reducing drag.