Brant Best is an Australian national swimming team coach as well as coach to 100m freestyle World Champion, James ‘The Missile’ Magnussen. We asked Brant for a few inside freestyle tips, and he was happy to help!
Proper body position is key to freestyle swimming. Yet our instinct works against us. As land animals we spend most of our life looking where we’re going so we don’t run into things. In the water, we compensate for lack of balance and orientation by looking forward. We may feel more secure about approaching threats such as walls, other swimmers and rogue kick boards, but it doesn’t help get us down the pool efficiently.
If your eyes are too far forward, your head is too high. You’re fighting an uphill battle with the rest of your body. While you’re busy getting a better look at oncoming traffic, your body has gone south. And that’s not all. You’ll be using more fuel on keeping yourself afloat rather than propelling yourself to the other end. Whether it be 10 laps or 100, overcoming the extra drag and expending more force to stay buoyant will raise your heart rate, tighten your neck, shoulders and back and slow you down in the process.
The best swimming mechanics cannot defeat the physics of increased drag – public enemy number one for Olympian and recreational swimmers alike. So whether you’re training to take down the competition or just going head to head with the pace clock, swim with your eyes down and slightly forward. Take a couple of looks down the pool if you need to so you’re not surprised by an advancing lane mate. And you’re on your way to faster freestyling.
Stay tuned for further freestyle tips and advice from Brant!