Swimmers, try this experiment while you are training in the pool. Keeping your arms still at your sides, face down in the water—kick. You are not moving very fast are you, and you are getting tired, correct? The fact is, that the energy required to kick hard and fast in the water is not always an efficient way to use your energy. If you are sprinting in the pool it will cut those few precious seconds from your overall time that may put you in first place at the finish. In the open water it will wear you out. Use your strength in your upper body, pulling from your back, and use your whole hand when gliding through the water. Kick smoothly and evenly to keep your momentum and allow for streamlining in your body to occur, the breath will relax and you will feel strong and focused. A smooth kick will also help you rotate and elongate your spine. Kick to keep the swimmer behind you off your back. Kick to correct your direction. Kick at the end of your competition to bring control and circulation back in to your legs and feet, but in the middle of your race, loosen up your legs (like a seal) and reserve your energy for when you need it.
~Coach Pedro Ordenes, www.waterworldswim.com
I've always done this. And I thought I was a slacker when it came to my kick.