Also known as the dolphin kick or fifth stroke, underwater kicking is a crucial swim technique for speed and competition. Even the most experienced swimmers need to practice and perfect this skill to attain maximum efficiency. It requires high flexibility, strong legs, precise timing, and a whole lot of power. The following guide will demonstrate how you can achieve the perfect underwater kick.
Unsurprisingly, most of the propulsion in this swim technique comes from the push-off. Velocity is maintained through consistent underwater kicking, where your body is propelled in a long, rippling path. The force is a whip-like motion centered at the hips and core, then extended through the quads. The flexibility of your ankles and lower back also play a big part in strengthening your motions.
Propulsion is gained from both the downward and upward kick. The up kick does produce some drag, but the down kick doubles your velocity. Swimmers must work on both motions to increase their speed. You are essentially creating your own current with these quick, powerful kicks, while your arms pull you through the stream.
To improve your underwater kicks, you’ll need to train the primary muscles and joints needed for the motions. Build strength and flexibility in your ankles, back, legs, and core. Work on your technique to ensure you’re maximizing propulsion and minimizing drag. Your goal is to maintain speed, not produce it, so aim for faster, smaller kicks. Additionally, focus on using your midsection to power your kick. Swimmers who kick with their knees create drag and fail to utilize the center of their bodies.
Remember that practice is key. If you’re at the competitive level, having a swim coach watch your motions and offer tips can be highly beneficial. They can assist you in perfecting your tempo. This is a swim technique that will require a lot of repetition and consistency, so a keen eye may be what you need to develop your underwater kicks.
If your child has the drive for competitive swimming, they belong at Technique Swim Academy. Located in Boston, MA, this swim camp is designed to hone each child’s skills and give them the instruction, confidence, and motivation they need to improve. With the supervision of Harvard swim team head coaches, your child will learn useful swim techniques taught by professionals. Contact the camp at (617) 484-0550 to learn more. You can see the summer camp schedules online.