How Your Swim Kick Could Be Slowing You Down


Ricky Relentless WaterSports Jet Pack

By Relentless WaterSports via Wikimedia Commons

I love being in the water whether it is behind a boat in a river or, during the winter, swimming laps in a pool.
But what can I do to go fast in the lap pool?
Well, until they let me have a water jet pack to make laps way more fun, I guess I need to work on my form.
So, if you feel like I do and you aren’t going fast enough, here is how your swim kick could be slowing you down.

It’s all in the hips


Indiana Jones' whip

By Gary Stewart via Wikimedia Commons

One of the biggest ways your kick could be slowing you down is if you are kicking from the knee.
Kicking from the knee slows you down by stealing power and creating a lot drag in the water.
It can also throw your body out of rhythm which can lead to slow movement. It’s all about hydrodynamics folks. So, start kicking from your hips.
When you first try this, you may need to lock your knees and point your toes to get the right feel.
What you want is the “Indian Jones” whip that starts from the hip and flicks out from your toes snapping you through the water wicked fast.

Hey watch those ankles

ankleThe next thing that could be slowing you down are your ankles.
So, until I started looking in to how to swim faster, I never really thought about my ankles.
They were there, they helped me walk, good enough. But when it comes to your kick and generating power, they are an important flex point.
If you have stiff ankles, you won’t be able to capitalize on the power from the hips. So, you will go super slow as a result. Make sure that you stretch those ankles and work on getting more flexibility.
The more flexible you are, the more whip you can get.

these little toesies went to the pool

ballet pointed toesThe last things that could be slowing you down like to team up with the ankles to bring you to Slowsville. Oh …those toes.
That’s right! Those ten little guys can give you a ton of drag.
They can slow you way down if you keep them stiff and pointing the wrong way. If you hold the ankle stiff while kicking they will push water the wrong way and you will never get anywhere.
So, for a fast swim, be sure to point those toes and keep it loose.

one last thought

UAI know it’s a lot to remember -but if you can just think of your legs as two whips moving from the hip and snapping at the toes, you will find that your kick works for you and not against you.
Also, as you work on your timing be sure to use music. It can help keep you up to tempo and moving.
I recommend a Waterproof iPod Shuffle from Underwater Audio. It can hold a tone of music and is easy to use so you can focus on your need for speed.
If you have any comments please feel free to leave them below. Swim fast and have fun!

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