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Swimmers, if you've heard your coach say "flatten your back on your start" and you didn't know what it meant... here's a quick illustration.
First, why do you want a flat back on your start? Too many swimmers start with a rounded back as they reach down to grab the blocks. This doesn't send the energy in the correct direction when you leave the blocks.
Andi Murez, great sprinter, is trying to make sure that she flattens her back so that she sends her energy forward as she leaves the blocks.
This will really give you an idea of what "take your mark means". With Andi in the ready position, when "take your mark" is said, she pulls down and tightens up the core to make sure that everything is going to be heading in the right direction.
Nothing is relaxed in the "take your mark" position. She goes from a relaxed ready position, to a tight, flat back "take your mark" position.
Notice that the head position does not change and directs Andi into the water.
So when your coach says "flatten your back for your start", get everything tight, and "flatten your back".
One final look at Andi Murez, as she prepares for Rio!