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Swimming Straight in Backstroke

QUESTION:

Hi Gary,

My daughter is a good swimmer but has a problem with staying straight in backstroke.  She tries to look as something above as a guide, but after a good dive and start she continually veers over  near the lane rope.  Do you have any suggestions please to help her.

Thanks Kerry

ANSWER:

Hi Kerry,

Swimming in a straight line in backstroke can be a real challenge for swimmers of all ages.  This is especially the case when training or racing outdoors with no roof over your head.

When swimmers practice, the swim around the lane.  While some countries stay on the left side on each lap, others stay on the right.

When it comes to racing, many swimmers will invariably move across towards the lane rope on the side they normally swim down in practice.

A good way to help them with this is for the squad to swim the opposite way around the lane in practice, from time to time.  If they do this, they need to be really careful to stay on the correct side in all strokes, as habits are hard to break.

Something that I had a lot of success with was to do 25s or 50s (depending on the pool length) of backstroke and ask swimmers to swim down the middle of the lane so that they could practice doing this for a race.  It works really well and teaches them to swim down the middle of the lane without veering to one side or the other.

Swimmers use their peripheral vision when doing backstroke and can just see the lane rope to the side of them.  Over time, they will get used to moving a touch further away from the lane rope.

The other reason some swimmers veer across to the lane rope is that they may be slightly stronger or be getting a slightly better pull with one arm than the other in backstroke.  This will lead them to the lane rope quite quickly too.  If this is the case, swimmers need to work on equal power with both arms when swimming backstroke.

Cheers

Gary

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