View Full Version : Starting Blocks

Sonic Swimmer78
July 8th, 2004, 04:01 PM
Okay, yesterday while I went to the pool to swim laps, I decided to be a little adventurous and check out a starter block for my lane.

When I (shakily) got on the block, I knew the starting position, but I'm having difficulty jumping off with distance for a good start. I usually belly flop or end up just "jumping" off of it.

Any pointers?

I'd like to know how to properly get off a starter block without busting my belly or getting seriously hurt.


July 8th, 2004, 04:13 PM
How deep is the pool at the starting end? If it is 4 deep, then better safe than sorry. If it is 9 ft deep, you can practice getting vertical on your entry.

One drill we had in high school, was a hula-hoop floating at around your entry point. Idea was to go through the hoop cleanly. :) A similar theme was diving from the side, and trying to clear the first lane line. (The pool had raised ledges, and narrow lanes, which helped.)

Sonic Swimmer78
July 8th, 2004, 04:36 PM
To answer your question, one pool where I usually swim starts at 9.5 feet in depth, the other pool (where my team works out) varies from lane to lane (it's as if the lane ropes were put in vertically). One lane starts and ends at four feet, the other lanes are similar, but they progress from four feet to thirteen feet in depth. I tried jumping off at a happy medium of nine or ten feet to play it safe and since I'm still new to jumping off starter blocks.

July 8th, 2004, 05:45 PM
Think about your hands entering the water first and the rest of your body entering through the same hole. Make sure you bury your head some. I think the natural reaction for some people is to forward up too much, rahter than down. The end result is they do a belly flop, and usually lose their goggles.

Yes, make sure you practice your starts in the deepest water possible. I'd say a minimum of six feet, but something like nine would probably be better. If you're doing the start right you shouldn't go anywhere near that deep, but until you get it down it's best to be safe.

July 8th, 2004, 09:30 PM
You don't need to get much in a way of air distance off the block.
Too much time in the air kills yor velocity, and once you splash in the water, you slow down drastically, not to mention the belly flop from landing too flat.

You probably want to get in at about 30 degree angle between your body and the water, sort of torpedoing in the water, where your whole body goes through one hole in the water, about the size of the cross section of your chest.
Diving in sooner, as you have more velocity helps you streamline longer and faster in the water.

Then as you splash through the water and head towards the bottom, straighten up your arms, push them behind the ears not bending the head down below the arms, but pushing your arms up and backwards till your biceps are behind the ears, that will redirect you up, instead of heading straight to the bottom.
That will be good for the start, when you get comgfortable with that you can start fine tuning your starts.
Also, you want to do this in a pool with plenty of depth (around 6 feet), especially at the beginning.

There are videos that can be rented with this technique... It was taught at a few clinics I went to. I'd tell you which one it is but I have to refresh my memory, or ask around.

Allen Stark
July 8th, 2004, 09:38 PM
The Power Starts website,www.quickgetaway.com, gives a good discussion about the physics of the start & how to enter smoothly.

Allen Stark
July 8th, 2004, 09:41 PM
Sorry an extra comma got in there. It's www.quickgetaway.com

Sonic Swimmer78
July 8th, 2004, 10:00 PM
Cool! I'll definitely take a look at that. Since I've registered with Masters, I've been determined to start competing soon, but what's a meet without a good start? I was so embarrassed yesterday when I flipped and flopped off of that starter block that words could not describe how mortified I was after practicing on my starts.

Thanks for all your responces!

Keep 'em coming!

July 9th, 2004, 12:01 AM
DO NOT be embarrassed. We've all done belly flops on starts and once and a while I think most swimmers still do. I know I do! The primary goal, whether in Masters practice or competition, is just doing it. Over time, we all improve. However, we all started somewhere too. Once you go to a competition, you'll see it includes such a wide range of ages and abilities. The Masters family cheers just as much for the 1st timers as it does for the pros.