Former ITU and current Ironman 70.3 pro Antoine Jolicoeur Desroches is one of the fastest swimmers on the circuit, regularly clocking the best swim splits in his races and familiar to being the first man out of the water in races. What’s the key to his swimming success? Desroches is extremely technically-proficient in the water, having developed a near-perfect stroke and optimal body positioning as he swims. This video provides footage of Deroches swimming, showing his stroke and body positioning from a variety of angles
Here are his 10 tips to achieving optimal swimming technique.
Enter the water with finger-tips first
The first part of your body that should enter the water is your finger-tips, not your hand, your forearm nor your elbow. This will ensure that your arm enters the water with the right angle and that you can have a good traction.
Press the water back behind you
You should not be pushing the water down, but instead try to push the water behind you. This is what will make you move forward.
Don’t drop your elbows
Most beginner swimmers drop their elbow and don’t have a strong and efficient traction. By always keeping your elbow higher than your hand you ensure that you will be able to push the water will all your strength.
Even though some swimmers, most often sprinters, use the straight-arm, also known as windmill, technique, I believe that the most efficient technique for long distance swimmers and triathletes is the high elbow or bent-arm technique. Your elbow bends as your arm exits the water and rises high. Then your arm drops and your fingers enter the water. This ensures a much smoother entry in the water, so less drag is created.
Rotating your body along your long axis is key to a good traction. Indeed, by rotation (rolling) your body you can place your hand much farther in front of you and therefore pull much more water. Also, with a good rotation you use your lats, pecs and core instead of only your shoulders. This will also help prevent shoulder injuries.
Whether you are doing a six-beat kick or a two-beat kick, having a steady kick is important. Kicking fast is also important for swim starts and when you want to overtake someone.
Don’t cross over the centre line
Your arms should not cross over the center line because if you do you won’t move in a straight line.
Reach far in front of you
By reaching far you will push more water for every traction and therefore be more efficient. This will allow you to have a better distance per stroke (DPS).
Don’t over-rotate your head when breathing
Your head should only slightly rotate when you breath and only part of your mouth should be out of the water when breathing. This will ensure a faster breathing time and therefore a faster stroke.
Finish your stroke at your hip
You should maximize your stroke by pushing down with your triceps and finishing your stroke to your hip.