If you have ever watched a competition either at the pool or on TV, you may have noticed how much time the elite-level swimmers are spending underwater. The reason for this comes down to underwater kick being faster than swimming on top of the water. Being underwater plays a big part in swimming for all four strokes, whether that be in the form of butterfly kick on your front, in streamline for butterfly and freestyle, butterfly kick on your back for backstroke, or through a pull-out during breaststroke.

Underwater skills are often overlooked by most, however I believe they are important to master. Underwater butterfly kick is all about moving efficiently through the water, so it is essential to create as little resistance as possible. A tight streamline will help your child move faster and help to develop their water skills. If you want your child to get more out of their swim lessons at the pool, I suggest emphasising the importance of underwater skills.

There are many different ways for your child to work on their underwater skills that will help them to get more out of each lesson. Here is a list of tips I think can help develop underwater skills, so make sure to pass these tips on to your child!

  1. Streamline: Lock your hands high above your head stretching your arms as far forward as you can. The aim of streamline is in its name. You want to make yourself as streamline as possible in order to create less drag in the water.
  2. It is important to kick from your hips, not just your knees. This will help to develop a stronger underwater kick.
  3. Kick in both directions, not just down. This may sound simple, but many swimmers only kick downwards. If you kick upwards as well as downwards with force, you’re likely to see massive improvements.
  4. Your kick should be small and fast, rather than big and long.
  5. Practice makes perfect! Suggest that your child start by setting a goal of making it past the flags off each wall, then increase the distance when they feel comfortable.

Hopefully these skills will help your child develop their underwater skills further, and they’ll be able to get more out of each lesson here at AUT Millennium Swim School.

If there are any technique tips you’d like us to tackle, let us know by emailing [email protected].

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Jacob Garrod works for AUT Millennium Swim School and the Schools Programme. He started back in February 2015 and teaches from Breather Level right through to Development Two. Whilst working part time, he is also in the home stretch of completing his Bachelor of Business Degree at Massey University in Albany. Jacob learned to swim aged three, and became a competitive swimmer at the age of 7. He continued right through until 22, clocking up 15 years in the sport. He specialised in breaststroke and has represented New Zealand on the international level, attending two Oceania Championships in 2014 and 2016, where he managed to get five medals - three gold, and two silver. Jacob also attended the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, in Nanjing, China, and the 2017 World University Games, in Taipei, Taiwan. Jacob attended multiple National Championships where he managed to get medals throughout the years, from junior level, to age group level, right through to open level.