Find Your Bodyline
The benefits of using a swimmer's snorkel
The alignment of a swimmer’s body can influence performance in the water in a number of ways. Truly, it could be the single most important aspect of our sport. Whether you’re just learning or are competing in your fourth Olympic games, body alignment is a constant topic of discussion.
Ideally, you want to remain flat in the water with your hips held high, just below the surface. This is made possible by keeping the head in a neutral position and by kicking with your feet to create lift. Once your bodyline has been established, you’ll find that you’re able to swim much farther and much easier. Water has a nasty way of drawing attention to our technical mistakes, so a little change can go a long way.
There are a few products in the swimming market that make your swimming stroke feel naturally smoother. First and foremost is a front-mount snorkel because it helps to improve body position in any stroke. Many coaches characterize the head as being a rudder due to its weight and the effect it has on body position. A front-mount snorkel allows you to maintain a neutral head position without the need to turn your head and breathe. You will find that if your head is either too high or too low, you’ll struggle to keep your body high and on top of the water.
A great complement to the front-mount snorkel is a kickboard, which focuses on the abdominals, lower back, and legs. The kickboard helps you isolate the back half of your body so you do not have to focus on using your arms. The combination of the snorkel and kickboard helps you focus on maintaining a perfect bodyline, which will help you swim smarter and faster.
FINIS offers the Swimmer’s Snorkel, which allows your head to fall into a natural position, so you can focus on other aspects of the stroke, and the unique Alignment Kickboard, which is held out front with hand(s) tucked underneath the rubber strap. Drive with your legs and focus on keeping the hips high and the abs tight. With the snorkel on, you’ll be able to focus on a rigid bodyline and a strong kicking motion.
To get the most out of these products, try alternating between exercises. Here is an example:
- 4 x 25s kick with the Swimmers Snorkel and Alignment Kickboard, focusing on a straight body line
- 2 x 25s one-arm freestyle with both snorkel and board (25 left, 25 right) (Place one hand underneath the strap)
- 4 x 25s freestyle swimming with no gear, trying to maintain the bodyline you experienced in the previous drills.
Swimming is enjoyable and is truly beneficial to your health and physical wellbeing, but flailing about with poor technique can be frustrating. Good technique begins with a good body position. Using tools to help you relax and find your body’s optimum line through the water will make all the difference to your experience in the water.