Why underwater kick is important

by Helen Atton

At last night’s gala, I had the pleasure of being at the starting end of the B-team lane at Wigston which gave me a great opportunity to look at the swimmer’s starts.  Getting a good start is really important and the younger swimmers have been working on their stance – the position they start their dive from – and their underwater phases.  Swimmers are allowed to swim 15m underwater on freestyle, back stroke and butterfly and the fastest way to do this is by doing dolphin kick.  During training we have been working on doing 10-15m underwater on one length swims and a minimum of 5m on starts and turns on longer swims.

Last night I was so pleased to see so many swimmers attempt to put into practice in a race what they had learned in training.  Several swimmers were able to surface after 10m in line with other swimmers from other clubs who did not do an underwater phase – but our swimmers still had fresh arms!  Further work on this will see these swimmers come up in front of the field in future.  Particularly outstanding examples of this were Alex, Kiera, Sophie and Kezia.

This is something any swimmer can improve on.  Start off by doing 5m underwater with your arms outstretched and hands together from every turn on your warm up when you aren’t swimming so fast.  Build this up until you can do it from every turn and then try to increase your distance past the flags.