Pose Swimming Technique: Swim by Change of Support

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No matter which environment we are moving within, we have the same rules and laws for performing efficient movement. Swimming is no exception. In the Pose Method of swimming we stick to the same principles of efficient movement that we discussed for running, however, in swimming because of the specific medium of water, there are two support systems working simultaneously: floating and moving support. This is an important distinction to make, when thinking about efficient movement in swimming, although the proprioceptive skills acquired in practicing Pose will aid and assist in maintaining the floating and moving support.

We teach the following elements of swimming technique:

  1. Floating support
  2. Moving support
  3. Floating support shift
  4. Moving support shift

Pose Swimming – Floating Support

The point that has to be made when describing swimming in terms of the Pose Method philosophy of movement is that the same laws apply, but we are using two support systems at once. The first support system is referred to as the Floating Support in which we are merely establishing horizontal equilibrium. Floating is a standard with which we can measure technique, it is as simple as that.

Prior to the Pose Method, that distinction has not been made. The skill of changing support is the determining factor in maintaining your buoyancy, or floating support, most efficiently. The degree to which you are skillful in changing this support with the moving support system, will determine how well you produce floating support so that drag, sinking and other forces do not disrupt your movement forward.

Pose Swimming – Moving Support

Moving Support is the balance relative to the water and the arm when the arm is in the water. We move relative to the water and relative to the body. The arm movement is the intermediary, or transmitter. It is used for moving from one support to the other, and keeps the body moving relative to support, which is the arm. The arm uses water as support. It needs to have a relationship with the support system which is the water. This relationship is what creates movement.

The arm is always relative to the body and relative to the water. It is in front of the body and moves through the water to get to the general center of mass. It must find still water in order to continue movement.

How Change of Support Happens

The support phase of swimming is long. It begins when the arm enters the water and starts moving from the front part of the body toward the center of mass. It ends when it reaches the center of mass and the other arm begins its support phase. In running, the support phase is short and precise. In swimming it is longer. It goes through movement and interacts with the medium of water.

The moving support is the one which allows changing support and changing balance from one side of the body to the other. The pivotal point happens when the arm reaches the general center of mass. The distinction between the two supports is as follows.

The swing arm or recovery arm enters the water when the support arm is completely finished with its work. You can’t have the swing arm working while the support arm is working because the pulling arm’s work will be diminished. The stroke of the pulling arm will be interrupted and swimmer will not be able to continue pulling his body forward.

Here’s is a double inhibitor of efficient movement forward that you need to understand and keep in mind. If the pulling arm is interrupted by the activity of the swing arm, the movement gets diverted and the floating support gets thrown off. So not only will this make you flounder in the water without propulsive driven movement, you will also get thrown out of the frame for setting up your next stroke.

The Role of Hips

The hips rotation is related to the movement of the pulling arm and not vice versa. Contrary to the belief that hips are power producers, hips actually play an unweighing role. The hips are a floating support for the moving arm. They simply move as a result of the arm reaching the end of the stroke at the hip, or the GCM.

At that point the hips are no longer needed for support, and they simply unweigh so that the next support can begin. The movement of the hips is the result of finishing the moving support – not the other way around. Hips do not initiate the movement. If the movement was to be initiated by the hips, you would no longer have any stability from the hips to use for your moving support. To move forward the support arm must have the stability provided by the hips. Once the arm reaches the hip, the support in the hips and the whole body shift, and a new support phase begins on the other side. The hips merely unweigh to allow shifting to the next support.

Hips & Change of Support

When we finish the moving support and the arm position comes close to the hip, there is no longer any necessity to stay on this side. That is why the hips rotate. The stroke is done. The GCM has been reached. A new support arm is ready to work.

It is the hip of the support side that moves away when the arm reaches the GCM, not the opposite hip beginning a propulsive movement, as is commonly believed, before the new cycle begins.

The hip on that side is now ready to anchor the new support arm. Anchor it as opposed to sinking it, which is what would happen if it were to move before the arm. If it moves and swivels, it will drop the floating support and leave no basis for the moving support or the stroke. In order to shift weight we have to finish support.

Relationship Between Phases of Support

The body will move in chaos, if we do not understand this relationship. The relationship between these phases of support is transformation of energy. Where the energy transformation goes, there the support is moving. For energy transformation we need support, so support is following the vector of energy. Support should go together with transformation vector. The hip unweighs at the pivotal point.

To activate the opposing hip is to move it without a support system. We need to work with the hip which is on the same side as the pulling arm. The hip that we are concerned with is the hip on the working side, not the other one. We have to learn that.

To get more details and gain better understanding of this subject please refer to the swimming section in the Pose Method of Triathlon Techniques.

About the Author: Dr. Nicholas Romanov is the developer of the Pose Method. A passionate proponent of higher level of education in athletics, Dr. Romanov dedicated his entire career to sports education, scientific research and coaching. An Olympic Coach and a bestselling author, Dr. Romanov has taught on all continents and visited almost every country in the world.

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