~By David Samuelsohn
At no time in your race will you be moving faster than when you leave the blocks on your start. And at no time will you encounter more resistance, than at the surface medium – the interface where water and air connect to form a barrier, and the harshest impediment to your speed and momentum. It’s the place your streamline matters the most – and the place we’re least likely to feel the need for it as we move unimpeded through the air.
Don’t be fooled. You must streamline before you contact the surface as tightly as you can and drop – near vertical – to drill the smallest hole possible in that barrier. The more of your body that contacts the surface, the more speed and momentum you give away.
Try to contact the barrier with just your fingertips to open a small hole, then the rest of you can come through it carrying the maximum speed and momentum into your race.
Why am I telling you this now? Because you don’t want to wait until you’re tapering for the big race to train yourself to do - and feel - this dive. Work on it now. Every workout, every opportunity: “Start with a start.” If you swim year-round you’ll have done a couple hundred before the next big meet.
Tip: Don’t worry about a grab start or a track start at first. Just hit the hole each time until you own that entry. That’s what’s important. And don’t forget to point your toes!
Dave Samuelsohn is a lifetime Masters swimmer and coach.