Body position in swimming is very important when balancing a powerful kick and a strong catch. One of the benefits of swimming with great position is connecting the kick and catch outputs throughout an entire workout and/or race to maximize performance. And the major challenge to maintaining a long stable body (great position) paired with dynamic, rapid kicking and pulling is neuromuscular fatigue. A swimmer's 'timing' simply starts to 'misfire'.
Balancing 'Feel for the Water' with Backward Swimming
For many, swimming is difficult and frightening. Just watch a swim lesson to see young kids struggle mightily to put their face in the water. Or grown men struggle to float on their backs. But for the swimmer accustomed to moving down the lane with ease or 'relative ease', try backward swimming. Not backstroke, backward.
Backward swimming challenges the overall integrity of great body position as a swimmer moves through the water. Like a bike that's steering has been altered, the act of 'reversing' the rote swimming forces us to revisit how we learned to swim.
Kicking in backward swimming is extremely counterproductive, so to create lift and thrust the pitch of a swimmers hands changes dramatically to make sure to get some part of propulsion from a lever (hand) perpendicular to the water while also keeping the overall body buoyant. Try it out yourself to change how you learn body position!
The Best Swimming Game to Increase Connectivity
It sounds ridiculous, but watch a toypedo fly through the water and the many variations of body position quickly present themselves. It starts with the morphology of the toypedo. A great body line requires swimmers to swim 'narrow' through the water.
But it is the contribution of the swimmer to forward propulsion that showcases the good, the bad, and the ugly. Even with a great line, a bad throw can be comical to watch. Alignment through a swimmer's body requires a unique shape to minimize overall drag and still connect catch with kick. One without the other simply does not get the job done.
Get Rid of that Piano on the Back
When the line and alignment are 'off' the kick and catch could be operating at peak performance but the overall swim won't match. The good news is that's not often the case. More likely if the swimmer's kick is strong the chances are the line is steady. Simultaneously when a catch is 'engaged' the alignment is likely in a great position.
But fatigue can make a fool of the best swimmer. And every swimmer has felt it. That 'burn' that says 'slow down' takes attention away from the details and swimmers compromise body position even as the wall grows closer.
So try out some swim paddles, fins and more swimming gear when your position is off. Let the manufactured speed and power help you focus. And measure growth with swimming test sets designed to challenge.
The repetition may not be a swimmer favorite, but as stated in Alex Hutchinson's Endure "Being boring is an important characteristic for inducing mental fatigue and, therefore, a brain training effect"