How to Reduce the Three Types of Frontal Drag

Swimmers are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to swim faster and more effectively. However, most will often overlook the old and classic laws that revolve around us and affect our everyday life: the Laws of Motion founded by Sir Isaac Newton. These are the laws that govern our interactions with the world around us, especially when it comes to your swim technique in the water.

The Race Club is outlining the three variations of frontal drag experienced by all professional swimmers to reduce drag and swim faster:

Friction drag is caused by the water molecules colliding and moving around the swimmer’s skin. Luckily, reducing friction underwater comes down to a couple of easy changes to your swimming gear. The ideal swimsuit and cap reduces the resistance of the water created when swimming. The key is finding the right gear that is tight enough to completely streamline your body while simultaneously allowing enough control of the arms and legs.

Pressure (form) drag can be felt when swimmers begin to build up speed through the lap. The pressure is mostly felt around the top part of the body and shoulders, whilst swimming through the water head-on. Most swimmers make the mistake of pulling the water underneath rather than pulling the elbow high. This simple elbow trick takes a bit to get used to but overall, keeps your upper arm in line with the body and drastically reduces pressure drag.

Surface (wave) drag places a limit on how fast a swimmer can move through the water. As you begin to gain speed, pockets of pressure begin to form around the body, which causes you to expend more energy to swim faster. The solution? Keep your head and body under the surface as much as possible. There is surprisingly less wave drag under the water than on the surface because by keeping your entire body under water, you eliminate the surface from frontal drag.

Understanding these laws and finding ways to improve your body position can take your swim technique to the next level whether you are high school swimmer or a triathlete. The Race Club is dedicated to the swimming community. Our swim camps, subscriptions, and many other training services are concentrated on helping you swim faster and more powerfully.

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