It’s an oversimplification, but at its root swimming is all about acceleration and deceleration, maximizing the former and minimizing the latter. In our day-to-day work on technique, there are a number of areas of focus that allow swimmers to isolate and correct or minimize areas of deceleration. However, for several reasons, body position after entry and prior to the initiation of stroke is often overlooked. 


The following video is an example of excellent underwater body position after the start. Notice how quickly he establishes his horizontal line after entry and how he holds speed by maintaining a tightly streamlined position parallel to the surface, without allowing his feet to rise or fall relative to his line. 


The next video is an example of how speed can be lost with minor flaws in body position. Note how his feet drop below his body line and his hips rise, creating an inefficient V-position rather than a straight line. 


While good underwater body position is not technically complex, identifying and correcting issues can be challenging. Unlike above-the-water technical elements, underwater video is the only reliable method for checking your body position after entry. While this is more logistically demanding than the naked eye, there are an increasing number of simple and relatively affordable solutions. A waterproof case for a phone or tablet works just as well as a handheld waterproof camera. Either method will allow coaches to give immediate feedback and provide athletes with the ability to see and address areas of weakness in their positions that they might not physically be aware of.