View Full Version : Face Submerged During Hand Entry Phase on Backstroke?

March 7th, 2017, 10:29 PM
I can float on my back while kicking and scull the water or keep my hands on my hips and my face barely gets wet. However, when I try to backstroke my face submerges during the hand entry phrase and floats back up. This requires me to blow out my nose to avoid inhaling water. I've seen people at my local pool perform the backstroke and their face remains out of the water the whole time. Even when I try to backstroke at a slow pace my face submerges at some point. Is there a reason I can't backstroke without my face getting covered with water particularly during the hand entry phase?

March 8th, 2017, 08:38 AM
Shoulder flexibility?

March 8th, 2017, 04:35 PM
Larry, it would be helpful if we could see a video. Can you have somebody shoot a clip of your backstroke for you to post on this thread? Just upload it to YouTube and insert the link. Seeing your stroke is really the only way we can know for sure what's going on. :agree:

March 8th, 2017, 07:06 PM
Question? --- does this happen with just one hand entry? If so then maybe, you are over rotating to that side. I do this with my right hand and at times, it looks as if I am looking down into the water. I work on rotating my other shoulder deeper so as to raise my other shoulder. Yes -- a video would help us.

March 9th, 2017, 04:37 PM
Here is an excellent video on proper backstroke technique:


March 10th, 2017, 08:25 AM
It's ok for your head to go underwater occasionally while swimming backstroke. Your head should be "back" (not sticking up) with the water line just about going over your face, but not quite, and your head should be dead "still" (not going up and down or side to side). You may not be rotating your shoulders enough if your head is being pulled underwater at hand entry. Try a little more shoulder rotation, keeping your head still to see if that helps.

You could also try lowering your hips and feet/kick slightly so there is more action underwater, especially if you feel like you are arching your back - flatten your body out. Slightly lowering your hips should bring your head up. You don't want to lower them to the point where you are "sitting", adding drag, and disrupting your streamline.

March 11th, 2017, 02:15 PM
You've definitely received some great tips from all of the forumites here.

The first question I would have is whether your face submerges all the time, or does it seem to be on just one side? There are two possibilities as why you are not able to keep your head above the water during your hand entry phase:

One possibility is that the issue might be coming from the kicking/core strength. Your kicking might be sporadic or your core may be weak overall. This is why the question as to whether your face is under water all the time or more on one side is important. A weaker kick and core will cause you to sink during the recovery and entry phase of the stroke. This is the most likely possibility, judging from what you have described.

Another possibility is that you might be dragging yourself underwater if the catch and pull is too deep. After the hand enters the water, you need to reach the hand and arm back, and catch just enough to maintain your body and head position stable, instead of bobbing up and down, or from side to side. If you have too deep of a catch, you could end up sinking underwater.

There are quite a few drills that are specifically geared towards correcting either a weak kick/core or a catch that is too deep. Ultimately, I recommend that you work with a qualified coach to fine-tune your stroke, since it is difficult to make judgements regarding what you need to work on without being able to get a full assessment of your stroke. Good luck!

March 11th, 2017, 04:30 PM
Another possibility could be the timing of your stroke. If you have one arm recovering when the other hasn't initiated the pull your body (and head) is necessarily going to sink. To demonstrate this try kicking on your back with both arms out of the water and your hands pointed at the ceiling. It's very difficult to stay on the surface.