How to Streamline Effectively to Reduce Drag

As Gary Hall Sr. states, “Drag is the number one enemy of the swimmer.” Many swimmers will focus on strengthening their bodies’ and improving technique. However, not many swimmers consider the effect of how water interacts with your body. When we coach campers and professional swimmers on how to swim faster, we notice that one of the biggest mistakes among swimmers is streamlining incorrectly.

The two fastest points you reach while swimming is the second you touch the surface of the water and when you push off for turns. The first technique to master when learning how to swim faster is your streamlining technique. By completely streamlining the body whenever you hit these two points, you will drastically improve your speed.

The first step to streamlining is to practice on dry land in order to fix your form. Many coaches will teach swimmers to squeeze the biceps next to the ear, but we prefer a streamlining technique that opens up the whole body and keeps it inline. Stand up and try it out for yourself:

With your arms in the streamlining position, drop your chin to the chest and squeeze your elbows behind the end as close together as possible. The goal is to make your arms look like one arm. From this position, pull the shoulders out of the socket and reach to the sky. While not the easiest or most comfortable position, we have found that this streamlining technique significantly reduces frontal drag.

Many professional swimmers will not pay attention to the form of their hands when they streamline, but the water takes every single inch of your body into account when it comes to drag. The proper technique that we teach our campers is to treat your hands as a tight, cohesive arrow leading you through the water. Keep the fingers straight and place the left hand on the right. Wrap the left-hand thumb to the front of the right hand and flatten the two hands as much as possible.

This streamlining technique requires a lot of time, practice, and determination to master, but it is one great technique for learning how to swim faster and more efficiently.

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