How to Swim Underwater Fast

Underwater shot of Asian woman swimming
A young woman swimming underwater (Image: Don Mason/Blend Images/Getty Images)

Fast and effective underwater swimming can make your swim more beneficial to your health and fitness goals. Swimming in a swimming pool will always require underwater swimming when pushing off the walls and during flip turns. Swimming fast underwater will make the transition into your stroke easier and more efficient.

Streamline

Streamlining when pushing off the wall underwater is a crucial part of swimming fast underwater. The streamline is done by squeezing your arms up over your head with your arms against your ears. The head should be in a neutral position with your eyes looking down toward the bottom of the pool. To maintain proper streamline, your legs and hips will remain straight, in a standing posture, with your toes pointed. Streamlining offers the least resistance for water to move around your body as you move through the water.

Kick

In coordination with your streamline, a strong dolphin kick is the fastest way to swim underwater. This kick is done by kicking both legs simultaneously in a dolphin like motion. Your upper legs and thighs will power this kick as your knees bend slightly. Your dolphin kick will be most successful if you have strong core muscles. This gives your legs a solid base to kick off of. Throughout the kick, you should remain in a streamlined position with most of the movement coming from your hips and legs.

Start

A push off, flip turn and diving start will all provide you with a boost of speed that can be carried through your underwater swim. Diving starts will provide you with the most momentum and can be done from the pool deck or from a diving block. Your dive should be shallow in depth, and as you enter the water, your arms should be above your head in the streamline position. Be sure that your facility allows head first dives and only dive in deep areas that are appropriate for safe diving.

Fitness

As you become a stronger swimmer and your fitness level increases, you may be able to stay underwater longer, allowing you to swim farther. Practicing your underwater swimming is necessary to get better, but swim with a partner or under the supervision of a coach. Holding your breath repetitively and for long periods of time can be dangerous. Instead of practicing the underwater swimming alone, you can practice as you push off the wall at each end of the pool when swimming laps.

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