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Swim Tip: Swim Downhill

There are times when I feel that if humans were meant to swim, we would have gills. Getting over the awkwardness of propelling yourself through water is all about technique. One simple piece of technical advice I can offer is to "swim downhill" when swimming lap after lap of freestyle. It sounds crazy since pools are flat, but the image helps you become more hydrodynamic.

Most of us swim as if we're going uphill, with the pelvis lower in the water than the head. From teaching Pilates I know that the head position will affect the position of the pelvis. Putting your head halfway in the water, instead of just to your hairline, works wonders for aligning the pelvis, spine, and skull. Simply put, look at the bottom of the pool instead of the wall. Fear not about running into the wall. The bottoma of most lap pools have lines painted on the bottom to warn you that the wall is near.

Try it next time you are at the pool. Just imagine you are swimming downhill. It's kind of trippy — the bottom of the pool starts to look like it has a slant to it.


Join The Conversation
runningesq runningesq 8 years
This is DEFINITELY a repeat post
HaterTot HaterTot 8 years
This is not universally good advice. It depends on what you're looking to get out of your swim. I swim much like kumquat, although, most of my strength comes from my legs, so if I'm doing sprints (under 50 meters or so) you really do want your head to be up, and your legs down, under water to get more propulsion. If you're not swimming for speed, then this is maybe okay advice, but it means your arms are going to be doing more of the work, and you won't be getting nearly as much out of your legs (and, you could end up being really splashy because your legs are likely to come up out of the water - which can be annoying for other people swimming in the pool). I also don't really understand what's awkward about swimming, but then again, I was in the pool swimming before I could walk and had my first Red Cross certification before I was a year old, so the idea that being in the water is anything less than completely natural is wholly foreign to me.
kumquatlicious kumquatlicious 8 years
I swam in high school and swim now for fitness, and you do have to remember that your body will follow where your head goes. So if you want to do a back bend, for example, you lean your head back and your back will follow. With swimming, I always swim with the crown of my head/swim cap above the water, with my head tilted to the bottom, but angled forward (eyes ahead, not down). This has always worked for me, and is better when swimming in a lap pool with other people ahead of you, and going in to flip turns.
bethinabox bethinabox 8 years
I don't usually (ever) swim laps, but I'll definitely keep this in mind if I do! :)
lydialee_home lydialee_home 8 years
Thank you Fit - that is good tips. I will try it today. :)
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