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Posted: 17 Jun 11

Posts: 298
Location: Canada
Most people say the waterline should be at forehead level (the way I learned as a kid, and still works well). I think this is still taught (?) but I'm not in masters, so who knows?

But, ive noticed many pros and seasoned swimmers keeping their forehead way lower, the waterline skimming over the back of the head which is practically submerged.

Is there a "correct" way, which is better? I like both but prefer the second as it keeps my hips nice and high

"Triathlon is just the equation that allows us to reap the passion of life in proportion to the work we put in" - Mitch Thrower
Posted: 04 Jul 11

Posts: 102
Location: United Kingdom
In all strokes, if the head is higher than it needs to be, the hips/legs will drop and the swimmer wil not attain the optimum horizontal position in the water for max streamlining. It is normally reckoned that the waterline should be at abt hairline of forehead on front crawl. (For some of us as we get older, this may mean the head gradually getting lower!). Remember that sprinters will lie higher in the water, whilst distance swimmers will amost always lie lower - which may be why you have noted the apparent lowness of the head amongst some swimmers. On breaststroke, the face should always be looking at the bottom of the pool (or open water), only lifting enough to breathe in, and the head should be between the arms with no space between upper arm and ears, or even head held below the arms for maximum streamline. In backstroke, the head should be back, encouraging hips to rise to the surface with toes just breaking the surface (but never the knees!).
Maintaining good hip position is also a factor of core strength/stability, to avoid slumping but using the hips to drive the legs and the upper body.
Too many novice triathletes (and many who should have learnt better) rely on wearing a wetsuit to achieve a good body position rather than learning and training to do it naturally - which is why weak swimmers derive so much more benefit from a wetsuit compared with a competent swimmer. (Why does the sport of triathlon condone the use of wetsuits in anything other than novice events/heats - why do decent swimmers allow poor swimmers to gain such an advantage? It's like putting crap cyclists on racing bikes but expecting proficient cycists to ride mountain bikes, or insisting that good runners wear wellies! There is certainly nowhere in the UK during the triathlon season where open water is sufficiently cold to need a wetsuit. It is all about proper technique, training and aclimatisation).
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