On Swimming, by Hébert (part 2)

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In the last blog, we covered what makes up a complete swim session, from a functional and benefits standpoint. Today’s entry is more about the mechanics involved. Again, simplicity is key, and it make appear obvious, it still needs to be done (we often overlook the simple).

In order to swim, you must move through a body of water. How does that work? Read on 🙂

Propulsion in the water results from a series of powerful impulses produced by an adequate movement from the upper and lower limbs.

It must be noted that all manners of progressing in the water are based on the same principle. The propulsion effort is produced by:

–       The suddenness of the legs coming closer together, on one hand;

–       The arm movements acting like a paddle or an oar, on the other hand.

The sudden closeness of the legs, which produces the greater powering effort, is comparable to the closing of the two blades of a pair of scissors. It can be done one of two ways:

–       With the legs spread out, either laterally (e.g. ordinary breast stroke);

–       Front to back, relative to the body (sagittal plane).

The movement of the arms can also be done one of two ways:

–       Horizontally (e.g. breast stroke);

–       Vertically (e.g. side stroke).

Finally, the movement of the legs, as that of the arms, can be alternated or simultaneous.

Swimming is always be broken into the four main phases:

1)   Starting position, or preparation, of the limbs to produce effort;

2)   Effort;

3)   Pause, limbs extended in order to let the body flow and take advantage of the propulsion effort;

4)   Return of the limbs to the starting position.

Now, go find a pool and have fun! If you’re truly a noob and afraid of the water or not a good swimmer, I’ll post the super novice drills so you can become comfortable and enjoy getting in the pool. I know, for some of you, Summer is ending and the temps will soon be cooling down. You can and still should learn so you don’t miss you next Summer!

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