Streamlining 101 - Part 1 (What is Streamline)
It is the first rule of swimming - streamline position. What is it, how can someone get into the position and even more how can someone hold that position effectively? You would think, with the amount of time coaches spend talking about streamline that maybe, just maybe swimmers might be getting the picture by now.
It appears not. In this blog post we are going to uncover what exactly is a streamline position. Then over the next few weeks we are going to look at how a swimmers can get into this position, and then finally how they can hold this position.
What is streamline?
When you look up streamline in the dictionary you will find;
"design or provide with a form that presents very little resistance to a flow of air or water, increasing speed and ease of movement."
The aim of the streamline position is to shape the body to create as little resistance as possible to enable you to move as far as possible as a result of a single propulsive action. Streamline covers all elements of swimming - the stroke, the underwater, the turn, the breakout and so on. In this piece though we are going to focus on the most basic one of them all. The streamline push-off.
Below we can see a still image of Japanese swimmer Kosuke Hagino during an underwater kicking phase of a swim.
Notice how flat his body is. You can draw a straight line from his fingers all the way to his toes (as we have illustrated in green). Noted below are some key points for each body part in streamline;
Hands are overlapping. One on top of the other, thumb and little finger of top hand wrapping around the bottom hand.
Head is nestled in-between the arms; ears being squeezed by the biceps.
Back is flat, not curved.
Legs together, tightly squeezed from thighs down to feet.
Toes are pointed as much as possible.
The above points are the key points we have highlighted from this example. By executing them really well Hagino is able to allow the water to flow around his body and minimise resistance as much as possible so he can maximise his push off.
Next week we continue with the streamline theme. We will be using the above example to explain the key muscles and joints involved in the streamline position and the flexibility required within them to enable a swimmer to enter into and sustain that position well.