Streamlining Is a Verb

Gabriel Wheeler
Jun 25, 2019


We have always known the conventional swimming term ‘streamline’ as a noun. It is the body position we make when we dive in and push off the wall. You watch the Olympics and you’ll hear Rowdy Gaines boasting every wall “WATCH THE STREAMLINE ON THIS TURN!!!” And he’s right. The best swimmers have the best underwater streamlines. But for this read we want our swimmers to broaden their definition of streamline and take it even further. Although putting one’s hands together and reaching up as long as you can is considered streamline it is not the only form of it. To swim streamline is an action aka a verb.

Let us break down exactly what the dictionary definition of streamline says. From there we will relate it to swimming.

Streamline (verb): "to shape something so that it can move as effectively and quickly as possible through a liquid or gas"

1. To shape something”: If we were to take a picture of your stroke at any moment in time we would get a snap of what your whole body shape looks like. What is the position of our hands, position our heads, position of our hips, our legs, our wrists, our elbows, our toes? How are we angled in the water? Where do our arms go in the water? Are our hips up high or down low? Are our knees bent too much? Do we look long and tall? These are all various shapes we can control and the list could go on and on. Every stroke has different snapshots with different shapes. The big question now is what would your shape look like if I took a picture of you? Does this shape look like it would be fast in the water?

2: “So that it can move as effectively and quickly as possible”: This part refers to stroke efficiency and effort. One of our goals as coaches is to help a swimmer find “easy speed” aka a shape or technique that allows them to go fast without even trying. If you had a choice of swimming 10 fly strokes just as fast as 20 fly strokes in 25 yards common sense says we would choose to do 10. Shape should always be the main focus before effort. In practice always ask yourself when you’re swimming if you are taking too many strokes or if you feel streamlined. If your hips are sinking you are not as effective, and therefore not streamlining. If your head is lifted too high out of the water you are not streamlined. If there are gaps in fingers then you are no longer streamlined. The list on proper position could go on and on for every stroke. Once you get a proper shape now you can add your effort. With proper streamlined shape on top of effort you’ll be zooming across the water. 

3. “Through a liquid or gas”In swimming we swim in water not gas. This is tricky since water moves out of the way every time we take a stroke. So now the fun game we get to play as a swimmer and coach is “what body shapes and positions allow us to catch the most water with the least resistance" And this is possibly the best part of swimming. As developing age group swimmers, you practice new shapes through skills and drills almost every single day. Always be looking for new ways to move through the water than you are used to. If it works, then it’s in your best interest to keep practicing it that way. Always be adaptable to change your technique and change your shape. If it doesn't work then you probably shouldn't do it. The best swimmers are able to streamline their strokes the best.