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Attacking ability is important in swimming as it helps you become faster and therefore win races. Speed is a result of stroke length and stroke frequency (stroke rate – how many strokes you swim a minute) as well as efficiency through the water. Making progress through the water can be improved by reducing the resistance factors and by increasing the momentum by physical propulsion. Propulsive forces drive the swimmer forward through the water in reaction to the movement that the swimmer makes.
A high level of technique and or an increase of repetition in the stroke cycles results in even faster progress through the water. Streamlining is a very important part of swimming technique, the levers of the body can be extended to achieve better streamlining but also they can be flexed. There are four primary forces acting on a swimmer: Weight of the swimmer Buoyancy,Thrust – arm stroke and kic k Drag – pressure and skin friction My weight is balanced by the up thrust of the water and the forward thrust cancels out the backwards drag of the water, this is called dynamic equilibrium.
1. Breathing A fault that affects my performance is what is known as ‘late breathing’ this is when there is a momentary restriction in the head movement after inhalation has taken place, when the shoulder of the recovering arm meets up with the head which now turns to the front late in the arm action. When the head turns to take in air, the longitudinal movement of the body is increased by around 20 degrees, therefore it affects streamlining, therefore late breathing will affect my streamlining in the water, if my streamlining is affected it will great more drag and therefore will slow my speed down.
Also the head nestles into the shoulder which means the arm goes sharply back to the centre line which means that the rotation of the body will be affected and the rhythm of the stroke will change. There is also more chance that because the hand is being forced back into the water, because of the late turn of the head that catch will be missed or be late and the elbow will drop. The elbow will come in line with or below the hand rather than remaining high for a powerful pull 2. Elbow
It is important when performing front crawl to keep a high elbow as it generates more power when going through the water. When swimming i sometimes swim with a dropped elbow, this is when you apply force against the water before a high elbow position has been attained. A dropped elbow means that you apply force immedialtey or soon after the down stroke begins therefore you push the water downward with your arms, this force down will then push your body upwards which reduces forward velocity.
It may also be that the swimmer is pulling the elbow back to move the lower arm through the water which will provide propulsion, but will not provide the power and therefore the speed that will be achieved if the elbow position is kept high and almost used as a pivot for the lower arm. 3. Positioning When lifting my head out of the water to breathe I tend to raise my head out of the water too high, and I also look slightly forward with my eyes. The position of the head is important. If raised it will cause the hips and legs to drop, thereby increasing the resistance to forward motion.
If the head is lowered into the water the hips will be raised and the kick could be less effective. By improving my head position I will also improve the late breathing that I have highlighted above, because the head will be in a better position to take the breath earlier as I pull. 4. Start A problem with my start is diving too deep it slows you down because you only have to get back up again and can cause more oxygen depletion than necessary at the beginning of the race. Usually caused by positioning of hands on entry IE pointing to bottom of pool rather than in front and head position too low.
Also by diving deep I am not going to be able to get as much speed and also when breaking through the water to start my stroke I will need a bigger forward force. Another problem I have is that when I stat I lift my head and look for the surface, breaking the streamlining and therefore losing speed and power gained from the dive. 5. Turn A problem with my tumble turns are when gliding in, hand starts downward movement, but head still looking at wall, therefore slows rotation speed. Head needs to follow hand, sooner chin on chest faster feet hit wall. The faster the speed into the turn the more power coming out.
Another problem is that all the rotation onto the front is done with the feet still on the wall, when you should push off the wall and streamline and fly kick onto your front. This reduce power out of the turn because the speed on the wall is slowed and would reduce distance off the wall. When performing my turn, I also want to have a small moment of inertia, which results in a quicker turn and greater speed when leaving the wall. 6. Legs A common problem with the freestyle leg kick is kicking too wide, outside of the body width. This causes resistance and therefore slows the swimmer down rather than being propulsive as it should be.
It will also affect the body position as it will cause an unnatural roll in the lower body making it more difficult to maintain the skills the stroke requires in the upper body. By changing the position of the upper body it will also cause increased resistance. A problem that the legs can cause in racing is over kicking. The legs hold the biggest muscles in the body and if they are overused in the early stage of a 100 metres or longer race then this will cause lactic acid to build up more quickly and therefore decrease the time before fatigue sets in.