Improving Your Learn to Swim Program: Getting the Line Right


By John Leonard

Learn to swim improvement comes typically from the most simple things.

Breathing correctly, good exhalation, Correct limb timing…and critically, keeping the body “in line”.

Some modern day and popular terminology calls this “creating a body line”. And if you are teaching today, you know exactly what that body line requires…core strength. And many of today’s young children, don’t get enough exercise to have Core Strength.

When two people look at the same physical action, it’s almost a guarantee that they will “see” or focus on, Different Pieces.

Two people watch a Good Demonstrator swim freestyle. One sees thrashing arms and lots of movement, another sees “straight lines” as the body moves through the water. We need teachers and coaches to see “straight lines”. The more the body “stays in line”, the less resistance there is to forward movement as the child learns to swim and the less they will fight themselves in the water.

There are several keys to adjust and focus on:

One – The back of the head should be perfectly in line (flat) with the spine line. (eyes look downward at almost 90 degrees)

Two – Rotation of the body to stroke and to breath, should MAINTAIN this position. (back of the head in line with the spine)

Three – Legs should kick “within the shadow of the body” and not be so wide as to venture outside the body line and create more surface area to expose to oncoming water and create resistance.

Use a wall or a floor to stretch the person out….back of head and spine should touch the wall at the same time…or the floor. Most common flaw – the neck is “extended” so the back of the head is tilted off line horizontally, and the eyes look “forward”. Focus on where the eyes are looking and the head will follow the eyes. (as anyone who has ever observed a teenage boy driving a car past a good looking young lady can attest…the car heads for the sidewalk, along with the head…..and eyes first.)

Straight lines in Swimming. An early key to successful teaching. Look for them.


All the Best, JL