Diving for Masters
By Dennis Baker
As we start our summer season of meets here are some thoughts on Diving into the pool and some tips for all the four different stroke starts.
- NEVER DIVE IN WARM UPS until the end when the announcer stipulates a practice start-diving lane.
- Don’t try to do the same start as when you were in high school. That’s the one we know but not the one that will serve us best as we get older. The goal should be the smoothest of entries. If that means easing up on how far you try to dive out there then so be it.
- Don’t ever be afraid or embarrassed to start from the side. You may not have learned a good dive yet. You may have an injury. Lastly it may just be actually safer and faster in the long run to just push off the side, don’t sweat it.
- Butterfly Start: After you dive or push off don’t stay too long underwater unless you have trained to do so. You don’t want to lose any momentum from dive or push. One, two, or three dolphin kicks under water is just fine.
- Backstroke Start: You may try to use the gutter instead of the blocks. I do this myself and find I get a much better angle into the water. Again, not too much time underwater and flutter kick for most of us is just as fast as dolphin. Either way, before you break to the surface switch to flutter for best results.
- Breaststroke Start: After the dive or push off you may want to forgo the underwater pull down. If it is not effective it will be just stopping your momentum. I have seen tests where there is very little difference from just starting your stroke right away.
- Freestyle Start: Again if you’re doing dolphins underwater you must switch to flutter before you get to surface. This will pop you up and forwards much better.
Try these tips and see what you think. The main goal is to be and as smooth as possible on entry and don’t lose the momentum gained from the dive or push off.