When you look at a pool of swimmers doing lengths, which ones are moving the fastest? The ones who are splashing and churning away at the water? Or the people being controlled, swimming quiet, serenely and smoothly through the water.
Of course its the swimmers making that smooth and silent progress who are travelling the fastest when swimming more than 25m at a time. That’s not to say all the fastest swimmers swim precisely and perfectly, just that they are not expending more energy than required.
Slapping and splashing at the water takes a lot of energy – the sound and water displaced takes a lot of effort and power. Added to this, as a result of making a big splash, you end up taking lots of bubbles down under water in contact with your hands. The more bubbles that are on your hands, the less water you will be able to control and squeeze back. As a result you will end up taking more strokes and using more energy or power to go the same speed
The more you can slide your fingertips into the water, the more you get control of the water through the front end of your stroke (your “catch”). The better the hold you can get on the water, the further you can go with each stroke, leading to a far less rushed effort.
Watching the Alexandr Popov video above, even at speed he creates very little splash, and travels a longer way with each stroke (around 2m per stroke).
Take your time with learning this – as with any skill. The point is that drills are there to make you smoother, stronger, more efficient. Make sure you hit all those target points!
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