I am a 16 year old junior in high school, and just finished my third 3 month swim season. I do not swim club year round, only the 3 months of high school since freshman year. My time for 50 freestyle is a 24.91, and I will need to take off about a second to get top 6 at states next year and get a medal. There a few things I know I can work on other than the stroke itself, and I am curious about how much they help.
First off, my flip turn. It is not good. I am still the rookie who sticks their arms out to help rotate and gain balance, then move them out front before I kick off. If I get a good solid flip turn, how much can this take off?
Also, my dolphin kicks, they are ok but not strong. Once I dive in do I want to dolphin kick right away or wait a tiny bit to keep some momentum. Also, how many kicks off the start and turn before surfacing? If I improve these will this help my start and flip turn?
My dive is respectable so I won’t worry about that.
Other side questions, I heard swimming with your fingers slightly apart helps, is this true?
After these improvements, what can I do to improve my stroke for the 50 freestyle?
Thank you, Matt
These are some great questions and I have answered them below, one by one.
Flip Turn – From what you have shared, you can dramatically improve your flip turn. This could take as much as 0.5 sec off your 50 freestyle time with one turn. When you approach the wall for your turn make sure your face is looking downwards as you take the last freestyle stroke. As your hand enters the water pull down hard and rotate your head and body over your hand as you somersault. Flip your feet over fast and place them on the wall so that your toes are pointing to the side of the pool and not upwards towards the sky or roof. As you push off the wall bring your hands together so that they cut through the water in a streamline position.
Dolphin Kicks – Continue to work on your dolphin kicks as they are an important part of every freestyle, backstroke and butterfly race. When you dive into the water your body should be moving forward at its greatest velocity. If you begin to kick immediately, this may slow you down. My advice is to streamline as you enter the water and as soon as you feel your body starting to slow down, begin fast butterfly kicks underwater. Off the start, you need to do butterfly kicks for as long as you can maintain a fast speed and no further than 15m. Many sprint freestylers do 6 to 10 fly kicks very fast and come up and swim pretty quickly. This is because they can swim on top of the water faster than they can do butterfly kick under water. By improving your butterfly kick under water, you will definitely improve your start and flip time.
Fingers Slightly Apart – Yes, you can swim with your fingers ever so slightly apart so long as you form a web between your fingers and no water goes through between them. All you are trying to do is increase the size of your hand very slightly to produce more force.
Hope this helps Matt and please let me know how you go.
The Swimming Expert