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Coaches Blog

Maria's Monday Minute: Swimming Head Position

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

The pools are open - I say again, the pools are open! At least they are in NW Florida. Since reopening, I’ve been working with athletes to improve their swimming form and I find one issue to be more common than the others--HEAD POSITION.

Specifically, I see athletes swimming with their heads up, eyes just below the surface of the water. It’s not an unusual position for someone in open water - but only when they’re getting ready to look ahead of them to sight on something (shoreline, tree, turn buoy). However, in pools, where we have the beloved (or dreaded) black line, we have the opportunity to work on our head position in the water without veering off course.

Imagine you’re walking down the street. You have your head in a neutral position and for the most part, it’s straight forward. If we rotate this position 90 degrees, you’re face down in the water, still with your head in a neutral position. You’re literally staring at the bottom of the pool below you. No one would walk with their head permanently aimed at the sky (I would trip and fall in a heartbeat). The same goes for swimming - no one should swim with their head up if you’re trying to be efficient in the water.

What happens when our head is UP instead of neutral when we swim? Our lower body automatically sinks and we look like we’re swimming at a 45-degree angle rather than our entire body being closer to the surface of the water. The fact is, it’s hard to swim that way because we’re creating drag. We want to ‘fly’ through the water as if we’re on the surface.

The next time you head into the pool, take a minute to think about your head position in the water. Ask your swim buddy to check your head and body position.


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