When was the last time you worked on your streamline? It might seem like a small thing, but pushing off the wall correctly can play a big role in how fast and efficiently you swim.
To help you fix your streamline, we’re breaking down five common mistakes, and how to fix them, so you power off of every wall like a rocket!
What is Streamline & Why Does it Matter?
Streamline is the fundamental body position in swimming. No matter which stroke you swim, there’s an element of streamline baked in. Plus, every start and turn includes a brief moment in streamline position.
For most swimmers, those few seconds in streamline are the fastest they’ll ever be during a race or workout, so it’s important to maximize it as much as possible! As you get further down the pool, your body starts to decelerate. Setting yourself up with a solid streamline at the start of each length helps reduce extra resistance and keep you moving faster, longer.
So, long story short, you should not neglect your streamline!
5 Streamline Mistakes to Fix
As coaches, these are the five most common mistakes we see in streamline, from swimmers of all ages and skill levels. Do you make any of these mistakes?
1. Incorrect Hand Position
A lot of swimmers hold their hands in pretty funky positions, which can add extra drag that slows down their streamlines. Whether you grab one hand with the other, link your thumbs together, or push off with your hands in a prayer position, quit it!
Correct streamline hand position is simple: One hand stacked on top of the other. If you’re limited by your mobility, don’t worry. Just keep working on it and you’ll improve over time!
2. Bent Elbows
If you push off the wall with bent elbows, work on straightening them out as much as possible! When your elbows are bent, you create more drag and are probably slowing yourself down. Think about squeezing your head with your arms to fix this!
3. Incorrect Head Position
You should not be looking forward or looking at your toes when in streamline. We see both extremes here: Some swimmers want to look forward when they push off the wall, and others stick their heads forward, resulting in misalignment and extra drag.
Regardless of which mistake you’re making, focus on a neutral neck.
4. Drifting Legs
Many swimmers forget to engage their legs when they push off the wall or dive into the water. When your legs are relaxed like this, they’re more likely to stray outside your body line, which can create drag.
Instead, focus on squeezing your legs together to maintain a consistent bodyline.
When you want to improve your streamline (or any other aspect of your swimming), you need to commit to improving every day. You push off the wall so many times during each workout, and each of those pushes is a chance to work on your form. Make an effort to spend at least a portion of your workout thinking about streamline. After a few weeks or months, you’ll build muscle memory and won’t have to think about it as much.
Perfect Streamline Technique
Your goal in streamline should be to minimize drag and make your body as compact as possible. The more your hands, legs and head extend beyond your bodyline, the more water you displace, and the slower you will go. Check out perfect streamline technique, broken down by body part:
1. Hand Position
Your hands should be stacked on top of each other, with the top thumb wrapping around the bottom hand. Your arms are overhead, squeezing your ears tightly.
2. Head Position
When you push off the wall, maintain a neutral neck position, and look down at the bottom of the pool. When your head position is correct, you should be able to squeeze your ears with your biceps.
3. Body Position
Your core should be engaged and your legs should be squeezed together, with toes pointed. Think like a torpedo…straight and narrow!
Improve Your Streamline With This Drill
This drill will help you take time to really feel out your streamline and identify where you can improve. It’s simple: Just dive or push off the wall, and hold streamline! Let yourself glide as far as you can without kicking or taking any strokes. When you stop, take a look at how far you went. What can you improve to go further next time?
Do you have more tips and tricks to maintain a good streamline? Share them in the comments! For more technique tips and workouts, download the MySwimPro app!