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 is the Assistant Swim School Manager and Private Swim Coach at AUT Millennium. Jacob has been with AUT Millennium since 2015 where he became a qualified learn-to-swim instructor. He now assists in managing the Swim School as well as working with learn-to-swim students, both adults and children. As well as competitive swimmers and open-water swimmers who are trying to refine their technique in 1-on-1 sessions. His background in swimming involves representing both his club at National events, as well as New Zealand at International events.