Straighten Up! (By Fixing Your Swim Stroke)

Do you tend to veer off-course in open water? Start to swim straight by fixing your stroke.

Photo: John David Becker

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Do you tend to veer off-course in open water? Start to swim straight by fixing your stroke.

Swimming in a straight line while staring at a pool’s perfect black line is one thing, but holding that perfect direction becomes difficult in the open water. Do you find yourself constantly correcting your path on the way to the buoys? If so, these helpful tips will help to adjust your stroke first to swim straighter in your next race.

Examine your swimming posture.

To achieve an optimized posture, visualize your body stacked, with your spine as the line of symmetry. Keep your head directly on top of your shoulders with your crown pointing forward, shoulder blades retracted back and down, pelvis slightly tucked and legs long with pointed toes. Allow minimal deviation of these focuses throughout the stroke cycle to improve stability and transfer of power. A linear body position directly increases your open-water navigational success.

RELATED: 3 Ways To Improve Your Swim Posture

Navigate with your hands.

Where you enter and extend your hands sets up your direction. Someone who tends to cross over with his left arm will generally hook right in the open water. To test yourself, practice laps with your head slightly above the water (water polo style), peeking forward to see and correct where you hand enters and extends. Imagine painting a line along your side each stroke as your arm intentionally recovers straight forward. Think linear. Execute this drill followed by an easy lap to integrate the feel without the visual cues of polo drill.

RELATED: A New Device To Help You Swim Straight

Pull equally.

Note the pathway of your pull, with the goal of creating identical power between your left and right arms. Your hand should maintain a smooth, straight course using the frame of your body as your track. Glance down to notice the pathway your hand takes underwater. Slow the stroke rate if minor tweaks need to be made. When the entire arm cycle follows this tracking, your propulsion moving forward will remain a true and direct course.

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