Monday, 4 June 2012

The Dive

Hello Competitive/Intermediate swimmers! Today we're going to be learning about one of the most crucial parts of any race - the dive. Believe it or not, the dive is actually the fastest part of any race. Think about it - do you go faster in the air or in water?

The dive begins with the swimmer climbing onto the starting block. If you don't have access to a starting block, the edge of the pool deck will work fine as well. First, you are going to stagger your feet at shoulder width apart. Next, put your dominant foot forward, and wrap your toes around the edge of the block. Your other foot will go back about a foot behind your lead foot. Your back foot should be on it's tippy toes - otherwise known as the "ball" of the foot (the place where the toes join with the rest of the foot). Keep in mind that your feet should still be about shoulder width apart even when one is forward and the other is behind.

Next, with your feet staying in that position, you are going to bend over. Your hands will then be placed on either side of your front foot. Your fingers, just like your toes, will wrap around the block's edge. The final step is to tuck your head in towards your chest. Congratulations! You are now in the official competitive diving stance.

The next stage is the actual start. When another person says "Go!", you are going to immediately push forward with both of your legs. However, your back leg should push off slightly before your front one. The back leg should push you forward, while your front foot, a split second later, will push you forward and a bit upward at the same time. One of the most important parts is the push with your hands.

Your hands should be the first thing to release off of the block. It is crucial that you use your arms to your advantage during the start. Your arms should be straight, with your fingers curled around the edge of the block. When another person says "Go!", you should immediately push against the block with your hands, allowing your elbows to come back to your hip level. You should also be looking forward at this point. Once your legs have released from the block as well, you will bring your hands back to the front in mid-air, back to a streamline position with your head tucked down between your arms for you to enter the water with (if you are unfamiliar with the streamline position, please see my simple tutorial of the Streamline).

Your body should enter the water at a 45-degree angle with a slight arch in your lower back, allowing your body to enter the water in order from the tips of your fingers to the tips of your toes. When your legs start entering, it is preferable that you allow your feet to get undulation - in other words, your feet should do a bit of a dolphin kick as they enter the water smoothly, allowing you to get a secondary push off of your dive. As you enter the water, be sure to maintain the streamline until you start swimming.

Congratulations! You've just learned all of the details of the Competitive Dive in swimming. Be sure to practice and maximize your efficiency with all of these tips - the dive is the fastest speed you'll ever reach in a race!

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