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Phil M.
November 14th, 2002, 08:48 PM
I am now convinced that I need to do more than three underwater butterfly kicks off my backstroke start but while practicing this technique I got to wondering...
If it is such a good thing to stay underwater why not use a flutter kick instead of a butterfly kick? My flutter kick is stronger than my fly kick. Would a flutter kick still be faster than swimming on top of the water? Or would it expend too much energy?
The books all recommend little fly kicks. How little? Any advice would be appreciated.

pbsaurus
November 15th, 2002, 02:49 PM
Get someone with a watch and try both. See which one is faster, trying to keep all other variables constant.

Phil Arcuni
November 15th, 2002, 03:01 PM
That is one approach. Here is another: It is generally accepted that a trained underwater butterfly kick is faster than an underwater backstroke kick. So, train to make your butterfly kick stronger. This approach will take more work, but I think it will make you a faster swimmer.

The point of little kicks is to keep your legs and feet from leaving the 'shadow' of your body. Think tuna instead of eel. I can't help you much more than that. Think about how big your body is (front to back) and keep the kick smaller than that.

ike arola
July 11th, 2003, 05:38 AM
Fly kicks second fastests...
Fastest way of swimming is freestyle, then cames underwater fly, then backstroke and last breast.
I think you should improve your fly kick technique. How? Try to keep your feet as straight as possible, toes pointing to pool end. And try to kick both ways, up and down. Use your soles to produce propulsion while kicking down.
I recommend vertical kicktraining: First, in vertical position, hands besides you, do small fly kicks and concentrait on your feet(you can look down how your doing); toes pointing down, very little bending your knees. Use your soles when kicking backwards. Second, when you do this beautifully, make a little more effort and lift your hands over the surface (just palms), continue kicking back and forward. Third, add much more effort, and lift your hands up high. Do this as long as you can. And start again from the beginning...
- ike

Gareth Eckley
July 16th, 2003, 05:28 AM
One more think to help with the kick. Try to 'toe in'. This is toes pointed and, to angle your feet to bring your big toes close together, to where they almost touch. This increases the apparent flexibility of your ankle. Do this in fly, free & back ( especially in backstroke.)

The upper surface of your feet gains a few more degrees off the vertical, thus increasing propulsion. This also stops a situation where one foot can drift to angle away from the other. I know because I tend to do this, it was shown up on a Videtaped stroke clinic I went to.

Also with fly straighten your legs on the back beat. With underwater fly kicks on your back, push off horizontally, keep a tight streamline, head in arms, looking up and somewhat backwards. Maintain this position until near the surface. The breakout stroke is very important. As you reach near the surface roll onto your stroking arm and start your underwater stroke. The shoulder and hip of your non-stroking arm should break the water first and that arm starts its overarm recovery immediately as the lower arm is half way thru its stroke. You should now be swimming in your normal rhythym.

If you have done this well then you should be anywhere from 7 to 14 metres down the lane. 15 metres is the maximum that you are allowed. In a long race 100m and above you won't be able to sustain this so just use less kicks. One last thing, if you don't have good ankle flexibility you might be better off to get to the surface and swim. The underwater kick is only valuable if it is faster for you!

Bill Cleveland
October 1st, 2004, 12:33 PM
One of the main reasons that fly kicking underwater is so fast is it is a full body motion. The undulation starts at your armpits; keep your head steady. Like Phil Arcuni said, think tuna rather than eel. A tuna (built for speed!) keeps its head in one place relative to its spine and undulates its body side to side from the pectoral fins down. An eel is a much more erratic motion as it explores the sea floor (not built for speed!)

If you need to learn this motion, use flippers to help accentuate. A monofin is probably the best tool.

To get a visual instruction on this, look at any of the footage underwater of world class swimmers using this motion. Their head stays pretty still, but their body undulates from armpit/chest through the toes. I have found that focusing on where the motion starts to be much more effective than where it ends. Focusing attention on your toes can be self-limiting because it is the end of the whip. Just kicking with your legs only gets you so far, but using your whole body involves strong muscles and a 2-way leverage against the water.

The reason the rule is to surface within 15 meters is that a guy named Dave Berkoff figured out how to do this so well in the late 80s that he set t he world record at 54.5 in the 100m back; he dolphined 35 m on the first 50 and about 15 m on the second. His time would still have been in the medal hunt in 2004. The rule changed because leading thinkers did not think that this was backstroke and a concern for safety with especially younger swimmers immitating this clearly effective strategy and passing out while pushing their limits.

dpflyer
October 3rd, 2004, 11:26 PM
I often have my swimmers do a set of vertical kicks. Since the time sequence is short the kicks should be fast. To be fast the amplitude of the kicks should be short or narrow. Inside the "shadow" of your body as Phil Arcuni alluded to. Here's a set that might be helpful, and remember that all masters sets can be modified: 4 or 6 x :15 with :10 rest. You can do more at :10 on, or fewer at :20 on. Vary it to make it more interesting or challenging.

ande
February 10th, 2005, 02:44 PM
I suggest you Train and Test:

1) TRAIN:
over a period of weeks or months train each day to improve your underwater flutter kick and your underwater dolphin kick.

2) TEST:
Then once every two weeks do a test,
get timed for 3 15 yard backstroke sprints and
see what the results are.

the 3 sprints I recommend are
1) dolphin kick
2) flutter kick
3) not much kicking

also try kicking 25's for time and
discover if flutter or fly is faster for you.

Also experiment with the number of kicks you take off each wall.

If you are a great kicker
take as many as legally possible.
(you got to balance this with fatigue and your need for air.)

If you are a weak kicker
take a few and get swimming.

Personally, I'm a very good underwater dolphin kicker.
I tend to take
10 - 12 kicks off each wall in the 50 back and
8 - 10 kicks off each wall in the 100
sometimes in the 100 back I'll take
10 kicks off the start
10 kicks off the first turn
8 kicks off the second turn and
6 kicks off the third turn

Years ago I did a lot of 25 yard kicking tests, both fly and flutter and discovered my fly kick is nearly 10% faster than my flutter kick.

Ande

Ryan@ICoachSwimming
February 24th, 2005, 09:27 PM
The thing to keep in mind is that even though your flutter kicks may be stronger than your dolphin kicks NOW, your dolphin kicks have a greater potential for speed if you take the time to develop them.

Some good ideas have been posted here on how to train. I suggest just making a promise to yourself to take 5 to 7 dolphin kicks off every wall when you swim. Just build into your work out from start to finish.. It'll come with time.

SwiminONandON
May 18th, 2005, 02:45 PM
This thread is a bit old, but nonetheless ... I actually had my coach tell me to stay underwater as long as I could in my 50back b/c my dolphin kick is strong and well ... your dolphin kick is stronger than your backstroke.

Kruger
August 12th, 2005, 07:38 AM
Originally posted by Phil M.
I am now convinced that I need to do more than three underwater butterfly kicks off my backstroke start but while practicing this technique I got to wondering...
If it is such a good thing to stay underwater why not use a flutter kick instead of a butterfly kick? My flutter kick is stronger than my fly kick. Would a flutter kick still be faster than swimming on top of the water? Or would it expend too much energy?
The books all recommend little fly kicks. How little? Any advice would be appreciated.

I think I might have something that will do wonders to your underwater kicks...

I use a Finis Shooter monofin and a use it a lot and it was worth every penny I paid for it considering the improvements I got in butterfly kicks. Especially the backstroke one...

I haven't seen or read about this drill anywhere, maybe someone thought of it already but I wouldn't know. I call it "the whale style".

With the shooter monofin, push off the block for breastroke and do as much underwater kicks while letting the air out. When you run out of air, use your arms to point towards surface (while streamlined). You will then surface for air and immediatelly immerse back (just like a whale or dolphine) and continue underwater kicks. When you get to the end, turn as you would with backstroke and do it for as long as you want. This will increase the strenght of the core muscles you need for dolphin kicking. The moment you remove the monofin and try your backstroke, you will notice the difference...

An alternative to this is to undulate on the surface while laying on your back; this concentrates on strenght only as the breathing is not an issue.

fishman
August 15th, 2005, 11:56 AM
You should shimmer off each turn as well as off your start. Once you get close to the surface you should transition to flutter kick. Underwater butterfly kick is the fastest kick.

fatboy
August 15th, 2005, 01:34 PM
Originally posted by fishman
You should shimmer off each turn as well as off your start. Once you get close to the surface you should transition to flutter kick. Underwater butterfly kick is the fastest kick.

"shimmer"?

Can you elaborate? Thanks!

craiglll@yahoo.com
August 15th, 2005, 05:49 PM
I don't know if others have this problem. I've always assumed it was because I'm 6ft.6in. Inthe 3foot shallow end of the pool where I swim, as I flip over onto my stomach, I must slow down. If I don't I crash into the bottom of the pool. I hit my head. Then I hit my butt. And finally, I hit the heels of my feet. If I swim into the turn at regular pace and roll quickly, I really get messed up.

With a slowwer turn I still frequently hit the heals of my feet. It is very annoying. this doesn't happen with the old style of touching then flipping over my shoulder like I still do when I go from back to breast. that's unless I put my hand really lower down the side of the pool.

Sometimes on a breast turn as I face the bottom of the pool on my pull out I'll scrap my nose onthe bottom. This is the only (maybe) bad thing I have ever attributed to being TALL.

PeirsolFan
August 16th, 2005, 06:37 AM
Finding a good pool for turns and starts is crucial. For awhile I trained at a pool that was 12 ft at one end and 3 feet at the other. So you couldn't start, swim 25 yds, and turn.

I've only hit the bottom of a pool twice. My first few starts on the 2nd and 3rd attempts in less than 5 ft. At least 6 ft of water for a turn is good but I have hit my heels.

There is an ever-so-slight glide/pause going into the turn wall and most guys glance up briefly and look directly at the wall before tumbling.