Ask Coach Sara: Stopping Your Legs From Sinking

How do I stop my legs from sinking/dropping in the water?

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Your Twitter questions about swimming as a triathlete, answered by coach Sara McLarty.

Q: How do I stop my legs from sinking/dropping in the water?

A: The issue lies with your position and how you hold your body in the water. Practice floating on your stomach to develop a relaxed and efficient position. Look at the bottom of the pool with your face and relax your neck into a neutral position. Extend your arms above your head with your fingers 4–6 inches below the surface, but keep your shoulders relaxed next to your chin. Slightly arch your back, pushing your tummy and hips toward the bottom, to raise your legs and feet up to the surface. Use slight movements of your hands and feet to keep yourself afloat and balanced.

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Q: What is the best way to improve stroke rate without losing the length in my stroke?

A: Focus on having a fast and snappy recovery while your arm is out of the water. Think about getting your hand from your mid-thigh (at the finish of the stroke) back into the water above your head as quickly as possible. When your arm is underwater, try to continuously increase the speed from the catch, to the pull, and through the finish phase.

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Q: Do you recommend sprinting at the start of a race to get away from the pack and then pacing, or trying to pace from start?

A: If you are a strong swimmer, sprint at the start of the race to find clear water and other strong swimmers to draft and pace with. Weaker swimmers will benefit more from a well-paced race from start to finish. Key note: The effort level sustained during the initial sprint must be trained and practiced so that you can recover while continuing to swim during the event.

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More swimming advice from Sara McLarty.

Have a swimming-related question for McLarty? Tweet her at @SaralMcLarty using the hashtag #askcoachsara.

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