Archives for posts with tag: head position

Seeing Joe Friel’s article in 220 Triathlon magazine this week reminded me of one of the easiest ways to improve your swim – staying nice and flat in the water.  I know some of you like to use special floaty shorts, a pull buoy or wetsuit to help with this but these are not always possible in races – like the pool swim at Newmarket last weekend – so the best way is to practise getting it right without any artificial aids during pool training.

Many of us could improve our body position, across all the lanes.  Joe Friel has some good tips in his article and my suggestion to add to his comments are as follows:

1. Head position is the most important thing to get right.  It should be in a neutral position so you should be looking straight down at the bottom of the pool.  Most of us can do this when we start swimming and the time it goes wrong is when breathing.  The most common thing I see is people lifting and twisting their head at the same time when they breathe.  Instead, practice sneaky breathing where you only turn your neck sideways and breathe into your shoulder.  Try and make it look like your mouth is not above the surface of the water by using the bow-wave you get near your shoulder.  If you swim too close to the person in front you will find this difficult as you will be spending too much time trying to look forward and watch their feet, so leave a gap!

2.  Legs are the next priority in my view.  Whilst we want to conserve energy and not kick too hard in the swim most people I see on Saturdays kick too little so that either it affects their body position, hence their legs sink, or it reduces their streamlining by being too lazy and wide.  For most of us a good steady kick will yield more benefits from improved streamlining and body position than will be lost by increased tiredness from the legs.

This week the main set will consist of increasing pace 300, 200 and 100m swims.  Try and think about perfect body position using your head and legs on these swims and especially kicking faster as you pick up the pace.

See you Saturday!


It’s time to get back in the pool and blow away those cobwebs from the last few weeks.  This week we’ll be doing mainly aerobic front crawl  and for technique we will be focusing on front crawl head position and breathing.

The best head position on front crawl is looking straight down at the bottom on the pool – keeping your head really still – and one of the most common mistakes many triathletes make is to look forward and have their head too high.  The usual consequence of this is to push your hips and legs below the surface so you end up being not very streamlined and dragging your legs through the water.  A pull buoy or wetsuit will compensate for a high head position – so you can get away with it more when swimming in a wetsuit – but you need to be able to swim streamlined with a good head position whenever you don’t have a pull buoy or wetsuit to help you!  If you need to look forward, try and do it by keeping your head as flat as possible, and if you need to look up at the end of each length please just glance up quickly and get your head back down.

The fastest you will ever swim is with your head completely still and face down in the water.  Unfortunately, unless you are doing a 25 sprint, you are likely to need to breathe at some stage and the most important thing is for your breathing to disrupt your stroke as little as possible.  To do this, turn your head as little as possible and breathe in the bow wave formed near your shoulder.  It will feel like you are looking either at your shoulder or slightly behind you.  See the following video for a good demonstration:

We will be doing some closed-eye drills on Saturday to help practice your breathing – trying to breathe on both sides.  You will close your eye to the side that you are breathing to and the aim is to make sure your open eye then never breaks the surface of the water.  In the video above the swimmer doesn’t quite accomplish this – but does get pretty close.  Your aim will be to achieve this on Saturday – it can be done.

And one more thing…  Please, please, please start in a streamlined position every time you turn and push off the wall with your head down and your arms squeezing your ears together, as shown in the video below:

If you start in this position then you are at least starting each length with your head in the correct position so you just have to maintain it for the remainder of each length!

See you Saturday!


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