Straight-line Swimming | Propulsion

Keri-anne Payne

Once you’ve nailed breathing and body position, you can move onto the final piece of the straight-line swimming puzzle: propulsion. We find this is the one everyone wants to work on the most!

 
But what is it, exactly?
 
Propulsion is just how you move yourself forwards through the water. Anyone who swims will be using it to an extent, of course – but if you want to make the process really efficient you need to think less about your legs and more about your arms.   
 
When people start swimming they often think all their power is coming from their legs, because that’s the bit of them that’s getting really tired. In fact, the reason their legs are having to work so hard is probably because their body position isn’t great. If your head is up and your legs are trailing behind you through the water, you’re going to be having to kick really hard to make yourself flat through the water. 
 
When you’re swimming, it’s your arms that should be doing most of the work – and if you’ve got your body position right, you’ll find you can automatically focus your attention on them. You want to make sure every ounce of energy is going into your progress through the water. 
 
What you need to do is imagine you’re moving the water through the centre line of your body – pull through from your fingertips and engage your lats (the muscles that run all the way down your back; there’s a reason swimmers tend to develop powerful shoulders!) by bending your elbows when your hand enters the water. 
 
The last thing to remember is that you don’t have to think about it all at once! Work on one aspect of straight-line swimming and then, once you’re feeling really comfortable with it, start practising the next. You’ll be amazed by how quickly it all starts to come together.  
 

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