In this blog we examine the importance of balance in the water and demonstrate how the head is often responsible for a chain reaction of issues with the stroke.
Here you can see initially that the swimmer's arm is too straight on the overarm cycle.
Generally, especially in pool swimming, the arm should bend at the elbow, the classic 90 degree angle is a good aiming point, a bent elbow is far more efficient in terms of stroke efficiency, staying relaxed and balance of the body in the water.
However, this alone is not the biggest problem and certainly in open water swimming latest techniques promote a straighter arm to help with getting through waves.
When the swimmer exits the right arm however, and breathes to the right, the head is over extending on the breath.
If you look closely you can see the swimmer's eyeline is looking to the roof. The head is also tilting upwards, see the small wave in front of the swimmer's head?
This results in a loss of balance, which in turn causes the legs to over compensate, splitting them apart and causing them to kick incorrectly, dragging in the water rather than propelling the swimmer.
In addition the left arm drops too far down and goes under the body instead of out to the side and the arm is too straight, resulting in further loss of balance and loss of power on the pull.
Whilst there are other factors to consider such as shoulder strength and flexibility, much of the chain reaction in many areas of the stroke are caused by loss of balance, which is caused by incorrect head positioning and thus body rotation during breathing.