The perfect swimming dive angle. Physics of swimming part 4
- Published on Jun 22, 2018
- do you push up or down? do you use your hands to push off the blocks? Do you go deep or shallow underwater? do you do a grab start or a track start?
The physics of swimming has the answer. Welcome to the fourth part of the physics of swimming. If you want to see new swimming videos every week I invite you to subscribe to our channel.
So what is the best way to use the laws of physics to dive perfectly.
The moment of entry is one of the most important aspects of the dive. The best way to enter the water is in the smallest tube. Decades ago olympic swimmers used to enter the water almost in a belly flop to get a further jump off the blocks. However this is not ideal because of the surface tension of the water that slows you down. To understand this let’s go to the molecular lever to see what is happening.
Water molecules want to cling to each other. At the surface, however, there are fewer water molecules to cling to since there is air above. This results in a stronger bond between those molecules that actually do come in contact with one another, and a layer of strongly bonded water.
So the best way to enter the water is breaking the surface with the tip of your fingers and trying to go through that whole with your entire body.
How do you jump then? Well Technically the best way to do that is to jump up and come down at a steep angle, but you will be too deep in the water to change directions forward. So what we usually do is to push off explosively in a horizontal direction and then when we are completely stretched out we position our hands down a little bit with a tight streamline, then at the moment of entry we pull up our hips slightly which helps the legs enter a little cleaner. Also the whole body is tight and the ankles are in plantar flexion.
Ok let’s rewind a little to the blocks. To push off the blocks faster use a track start rather than a grab start. Remember that as we saw in the physics of swimming part 2, the harder you push an object the harder it will push back, so to increase the power of your push use both of your arms from the beginning of the dive, they are an important part of initiating the momentum of the jump. Now let’s fast forward to the moment of entry.
You might think the dive ends when you enter the water but you are missing one big part of the start of any race. Once you enter the water at the right angle of about 30 degrees, you need to pull your upper body up a little to a horizontal position and start the under water dolphin kick or the initial glide of the breaststroke pullout. This change in direction is very important since you have a lot of downward velocity thanks to gravity you can take advantage of that by redirect it to horizontal speed.
It is important that you know how many dolphin kicks you want to do, because that will influence the optimum depth at which you want to start your dolphin kicks. The more kicks you plan on doing the deeper you want to be, but try not to go too deep. Around one meter or one yard should be enough to go up to the 15 meter mark.
If you are watching this it means that you want to be a faster swimmer. We made a swimming program that will help you do just that. It is short, it is fun and it works! Click here to find out more about our swordfish program.
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