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When Dave wants to get faster, he doesn’t necessarily train harder… he trains with more focus. He thinks about things he can do to get faster – that will help him take full advantage of the kick and pull he works so hard train. One of the things he thinks about…his eyes.
When most people think of head or eye position, they usually focus on what’s happening above the water. Dave, however, concentrates on keeping his eyes down under water. Watch what this does for his glide.
You’ll notice in this clip that Dave begins his pull with his eyes still focused on the bottom. This guarantees that he’s in streamline position when he begins his pull, and that he gets the most out of each pull possible.
When we watch many age-group swimmers, we notice the eyes coming up so they see where they’re going. This causes the head to come out of the streamline position, causing drag, and slowing the swimmer down.
Here we see just how tight a streamline position Dave gets into on each stroke. When viewed from the front, you can see how he gets his body to cut through one little hole in the water.
Trying too hard sometimes causes the head to go too deep in the water. Experiment until you find the head and eye position that makes you feel like you’re flying through the water with little or no effort as you glide.
When Dave is really thinking about this part of his stroke, watch how long he keeps his head in this position during the out-sweep of the arms. Be patient…and try not to move your head at all.
Here are some fun things to try when you have a little free time in the pool. Underwater Slinky with a Mini Pull allows you to get down the pool without moving your head out of the streamline position. Simply add a dolphin kick to your slink movement, and use a short, quick pull out front. The entire time you’re doing this you’ll notice how it’s not necessary to lift or tuck your head at all.
Now move on to Underwater Breaststroke. This is simply breaststroke…under water. This is a good drill for learning to keep your head steady and your eyes down.
When you do get to the surface, try a few strokes of breaststroke without breathing. Then work in a small breath. Try to make sure your head comes up as little as possible when you finally do take a breath.
Remember: eyes down under. Look at the bottom during your glide in breaststroke.