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Roland’s nickname is “The Rocket,” and it’s easy to see why. His body drills through the water as if it were a missile with one mission: To get to the other end.
Roland knows that the key to fast freestyle – especially sprint freestyle – is to swim in perfect alignment, straight down the pool.
Body position is something that Roland works on every day because he knows that the faster you swim, the harder the water pushes back.
The best way to fight the extra resistance is to shape your body like a needle…and then turn it into a rocket with a powerful kick and efficient pull.
In the next few clips, try not to watch Roland’s kick and pull. Focus only on his body as a whole – how it’s shaped and how it’s aligned in the water.
In this clip, notice that Roland is in perfect alignment – or perfect balance – in the horizontal plane. If we freeze him right here…you could draw a straight line from his fingertips…all the way down his arm, torso, and legs – all the way to his toes.
Roland’s hands, head, hips, and feet are connected in one straight line – and he maintains this long, clean line through every part of his stroke cycle. This allows him to slip through the water with almost no resistance.
With the hips high and the legs directly in line with the body, Roland presents very little frontal resistance to the water. This body shape allows him to get maximum power from his kick and from his pull.
In this clip, notice how Roland is in perfect alignment side to side around the vertical axis. If we freeze him right here…his body looks like the tip of a needle.
And as he swims toward you, it’s as if he were strung on a wire…or as if his body were rotating on a spit.
In this clip, ignore the rotation, and focus only on the surface area that Roland presents to the water. All you can see are his head, shoulder, and hand. There is no side-to-side movement in his head or hips. Everything is aligned and he’s drilling straight to the other end.
It’s this precise, perfect alignment that is the hallmark of Roland’s stroke and the key ingredient of his world-class speed.
Let’s watch a few more lengths from different angles. Get an image in your head of Roland’s body position and alignment, and how he moves like a needle through the water, and see if you can add this to your own stroke when you practice.