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Chlorine Chronicle (Archive)

NMSC Feb/00 Newsletter

Coaches Lane: Drag

Question: Why do I feel like I am dragging myself through the water?

I am sure that all of us have asked this question. When you're in the water you want to try to be streamlined, reducing the amount of resistance or drag in the water. One of your objectives should be to not only improve your stroke technique, but also to reduce drag.

There are three major types of drag:

Form Drag:
Which is based on your body shape, your size, and the angle of your body in water. Form drag can be either horizontal or lateral. For example, after a hard kick set you feel like your legs are dragging behind you and they are closer to the bottom of the pool instead of at the surface of the water, they probably are, and you are creating form drag. . Ways to increase form drag, remember those parachutes during the circuit swims?, grab a hold of the ankles of the swimmer in front of you!!! Ways to decrease form drag, improve stroke technique (this is where the coaches come in handy!), streamlining (particularly into and out of the turns).

Wave Drag:
Caused by waves that you make (only in fly of course!) and those made by others. That's why it seems to be easier to swim when there are fewer swimmers per lane. Ways to increase wave drag, join the evening groups where there are six to eight swimmers per lane, swim in children's pool at WBC. Ways to decrease wave drag, join the morning group where there are usually only three to four swimmers per lane, or move to that empty lane in the pool. Do you wonder why deeper pools are faster?

Frictional Drag:
Drag between swimmers and water. For example, hair, extra bathing suits, etc.. Ways to increase frictional drag, wear an extra bathing suit (or two), wear a T-shirt in the water. Ways to decrease frictional drag, "shave down" (this is not for everyone, but for those who have "shaved down", you know how it feels);

(Courtesy of coach Bill)


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