Good Swimming Techniques - For Triathletes and Triathlons

by Pool Builders on 01-23-2010 in Articles

Swimming is more about technique than working hard; you must be smooth, save your energy and relax in the water. Practicing good technique makes swimming progressively easier. However it's a skill that most people will lose quickly, so you need to be consistent and enjoy and make the most of your pool time.

Good technique

For every movement you make there's an appropriate reaction elsewhere in your body. Lift your head out of the water to breathe and your legs drop. Swing your arms too wide and your legs move outwards in the opposite direction. Because water is so dense, if your action is to try to force your way through you will only expend a disproportionate amount of energy. Remember that it is good technique, not brute force that leads to effective swimming. As Taoists say: take the line of least resistance.

Your head

Where you look acutely affects the rest of your body. Look somewhere between straight down to the pool bottom and 45 degrees ahead. Your neck flexibility and torso position will affect what feels best. Do not bend your head too far under, a turning the head to breathe becomes very difficult. A good rule of thumb is that the water line should hit the forehead area of your swim hat. When breathing, your lowermost eye socket should always stay in the Water.

Your arms

The majority of triathlon swimming propulsion comes from your arms. However, you can greatly reduce drag and glide further each time you push off the wall by outstretching your arms, one hand on top of the other, with your head tucked in-between. It may not add propulsion but it makes you better at maximizing the fastest part of your swim - the push off from the wall.

Your body

You need to be flat in the water, not with your legs dragging or your head high out of the Water. The more Water you displace, the more energy you need to expend and the greater the drag on your body. Your body type and shape may affect how you lie in the Water. Body changes in terms of fat, muscle and overall weight can change body position. Using fins, a pull buoy, kick board or a wetsuit can teach correct body position


You have to be able to breathe relaxed in order to stay aerobic, maintain the right body position and feel confident in the water. You must exhale under water in such a way that your head rotates sideways and your mouth lifts clear of the water to breathe in. By breathing out, you remove carbon dioxide build-up and this keeps your body relaxed. Holding your breath will only force carbon dioxide levels up, making you breathe in a stressful manner.

Your legs

Your legs act to balance the stroke, much like a rudder, and provide some propulsion forwards and upwards - they steer, propel and lift. The action should be initiated from the hips and include some knee bend as well. Feet need to be relaxed, not pointing towards the pool bottom. The action should be rhythmic with minimal spreading apart sideways of the feet.

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