How to Do the Dolphin Stroke Underwater
The dolphin stroke is based on the undulating, powerful dolphin kick. It’s a tricky motion, but it can help you swim much faster once you’ve mastered it. Based on research in fluid dynamics, it has helped Olympic gold medalists gain an edge over their competitors.
Doing the Dolphin Stroke
Push off the wall, keeping your whole body under water.Stretch your hands in front of you in a streamline position. Keep your feet and legs straight and together, and keep your core tense.
- You should start off low enough in the water that you’ll be able to keep your whole body underwater while you execute the stroke. You might need to start off at a slight downward angle in order to achieve this, and it will probably take some practice.
- Be sure to breathe in fully before starting, since you’ll be under water for a while.
- You can do the dolphin stroke on your back, your front, or even your side, but when you’re learning it, it’s probably easier to start prone, with your face toward the bottom of the pool.
Bend your knees slightly and extend your legs behind your body.Tilt your pelvis forward slightly to drive this motion. This part of the stroke is the backward kick, and it is meant to get your body into position.
- Focus on achieving a full extension with your legs.
Bring your legs forcefully forward.Tilt your pelvis backward to drive this part of the stroke. This is the forward kick, which provides the stroke’s propulsion. Your legs should extend in front of your body line during this part of the kick.
Extend your feet fully.Feet, like a dolphin’s fins, generate much of the thrust in this kick. Fully extending your ankles can maximize this effect.This is an unusual position in daily life, but strong, flexible ankles will improve all of your swimming kicks, not only the dolphin.
- In essence, you are pushing water, not only up and down, but also backward with this kick. Flexible, extended ankles are crucial to doing this effectively.
- Strengthen and stretch your ankles by tracing the alphabet with your feet. Lie on your back in a comfortable position and write each letter, lowercase and uppercase, in the air with each foot.
Keep your body underwater.Don’t use the motion of your hips to stay underwater. Instead, control your depth using your arms. By keeping your arms in streamline position and pointing them slightly toward the bottom of the pool, you will resist the tendency of your body to float to the surface.
- The kick’s power is based in part on the insight that kicking underwater avoids the resistance created by turbulence and air at the surface.
Building Your Dolphin Stroke with Drills
Practice pelvic rotation against a wall outside of the pool.Using a wall will help you isolate the pelvis and focus on building comfort and strength with this motion. In addition, the wall will keep your arms and shoulders in line, similar to the position you will want to maintain in the water.
- Stand with your upper back against the wall and your feet twelve to eighteen inches from the wall. Hold your arms above your head in streamline position. Tilt your pelvis backward by slowly crunching your abdomen in. Bring your middle and lower back slowly in contact with the wall as you do this. Then, reverse the motions. Repeat up to five times.
- Turn around and stand with your feet about eighteen inches from the wall. Keeping your pelvis above your feet, hold your arms above your head in streamline position and rest them on the wall. Rotating your pelvis forward, slowly bring the rest of your torso and then your thighs into contact with the wall. Reverse these motions and repeat up to five times.
Try the kick using a kickboard.Hold the kickboard level in front of you. Extend your arms instead and keep your head up. Do not “pump” the kickboard, but maintain an even, level position, keeping your arms and your shoulders in a steady plane. Imagine you are leaning against a wall in order to keep your torso and arms still; the motion should come from your pelvis and legs.
- When you feel comfortable with this drill, try the same thing without the kickboard.
- You may also practice this drill in deep water to build the necessary amplitude.
Practice the kick on your side.Push off from the wall at the surface and oriented on one side. Extend the bottom arm in front of you and stretch the other arm along the top of your body. Stay in the middle of the lane. This drill helps to develop the symmetry required of the stroke.
Use the dolphin kick with freestyle arms to increase stroke rate.The dolphin kick can help you develop a faster stroke rate. Match one stroke with each kick for a short distance in this drill, not pausing to breathe.
QuestionWhat's the easiest swimming method for children?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe front crawl is a very simple technique, and it isn't strenuous like the butterfly.Thanks!
QuestionHow can a beginner learn to swim?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou could find and take swimming lessons, and/or read the attached article.Thanks!
QuestionIs there an easier way to swim?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes! The dolphin stroke is an advanced stroke. Start with freestyle (forward crawl), backstroke, and breast stroke instead of dolphin.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the easiest and fastest stroke?Maddie.summersCommunity AnswerThe easiest stroke is the backstroke, as you can breathe the entire time; the fastest stroke to swim is freestyle. Freestyle is relatively easy to swim compared to butterfly and breaststroke.Thanks!
QuestionIs the dolphin kick similar to the butterfly kick?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDolphin kick is the technical name for the butterfly kick, so yes, they are the exact same thing.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I breathe underwater for a long time?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can expand your breathing capacity underwater by practicing holding your breath regularly, but you can't breathe underwater no matter what.Thanks!
QuestionWhat stroke is the easiest to learn as a child?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe breaststroke is simple for children to learn because you breathe on every stroke you take. It is the slowest stroke too, so you don't have to worry if you barely move anywhere.Thanks!
- This is an advanced stroke. Master more basic strokes, such as freestyle with butterfly kick, and make sure you are comfortable in the water before attempting this stroke.
- Follow the rules. Depending on your level and where you’re competing, the use of the dolphin kick might be regulated. In the Olympics, for example, swimmers are not allowed to stay underwater for too much of each length. Use the dolphin kick effectively but honestly.
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