Posted on Leave a comment

Momentum, Body Position, & Drag

I read this article written by Gary Hall Sr about coupling motions.

FIRST RESPONSE TO ARTICLE:   This article is another great way to describe momentum.

“When an external force acts upon a body, it changes its momentum; however, when no external force acts, the momentum of the body does not change, a fact which is incorporated in the principle of ‘the conservation of momentum’. Therefore, momentum has come to be known as the force of motion that a moving body acquires in continuing its motion by virtue of inertia.” – Webster’s Unabridged

If you can understand this concept, you will be a very happy swimmer.

Maintaining a proper streamline and being able to time your breakout into your swimming is key to fast swimming. If you ever do anything underwater and feel yourself slow down then you have lost momentum. Momentum will be different for each athlete based on body type, flexibility and skill level. What and how you do your underwater mechanics and how you break out into your swimming all effects momentum.

Streamlined position:
The hands should be crossed – hand over hand, some people teach a crossover grab. The biceps should be pressed upon the ears with the shoulders and chest stretched out as much as possible. The head will not be tucked chin to chest but in the same position, it would be in as if you were walking. The midsection and hips will be in line with the thighs and feet following directly behind. The legs must be in the same plane as the hips thus reducing drag. This is the basic streamline (spike). Hands, Head, Hips, and Heels in line. Once this has been achieved you may begin your breakout by starting your first stroke. Judging the depth of the water is essential for a good breakout by maintaining momentum.

SECOND RESPONSE TO ARTICLE: I don’t necessarily agree with the way he describes Breaststroke coupling and the mechanics involved. This is obviously a stroke that is still evolving but I would err on the side of teaching body position of the stroke first.

SEE ALSO  Breaststroke Continues to Change!

Body position and reducing drag:
If a swimmer can master body position, then the battle with drag can be won. Reducing drag should be a swimmers main concern. Your head position should be held as when walking. The head should not be tucked forward or back. The head controls the position of the feet and a slight movement of the head will make a huge impact with the legs and increase the drag of the whole body. The head must be streamlined with the body during the whole swim. The concept of body position must be learned with the thoughts of achieving a streamlined body position. As often as possible you must try to keep the 4 H’s in line (Hands, Head, Hips, and Heels). Once body position is lost the drag becomes a very large factor and stroke mechanics fall apart. Eliminating drag is an important part of stroke mechanics and one of the driving forces of swimming along with maintaining momentum.
Breaststroke legs warm up during meets before a competition.

200-400 non-breast easy, based on how you feel   
Begin with 8 x 25’s kick with a drill. (3 kicks / 1 stroke or hands at side, breathing every kick) @ 60% rest as needed   
Another 8 x 25’s kick, 4 with a drill and 4 w/board or hands in front @ 70-75% rest as needed   
Another 6-8 x 25’s kick half kick w/board or hands in front and half swim(emphasis kick) @90% rest as needed   
Another 6 x 25’s build each 25 swim to 95% rest to recovery   
200-400 non-breast, easy based on your recovery needed and plan to finish about 7-10 minutes before you compete

SEE ALSO  Even More on Mechanics

We are all here to learn and adapt. Let me know your thoughts. Please take some time to review all our seasonal plans (7, 14, 19 and 23-week programs). If you need any help adjusting programming to your team please email me.

Leave a Reply