The Physics of Swimming #Hydrodynamics

TL:DR | Up down left right, and no that isnโ€™t a cheat code exactly. This is how YOU move in the water.


3 min read
The Physics of Swimming #Hydrodynamics

Want to know the real movements of swimming?

When you swimming, then you are literally just moving, but rather than being upright you are rotated ninety degrees.

Being flat allows us to move the water with the least amount of resistance, which is mainly just our head and shoulders pushing against the water. Since water is more dense than air, then our logic has to change too with that. How we use our hands and legs, let alone in conjunction with each other.


Why + Philosophy:

Understanding the water as a force, almost like an ethereal thing, makes things actually more helpful in learning. Thinking along the lines of you canโ€™t fight the water, as it will win. What we do instead is go around the figurative and literal wall.

Seeing the water as a wall allows you to think more like a sword cutting through the water.


How + Physics:

With the idea of cutting through, you CAN cut forward, but it is unsustainable as it takes up to much energy over time (technically breaststroke does this though).

Meaning the best option is to go AROUND the wall, by moving more side to side you can bend around the pressure wall of the water. Hence the โ€œup, down, left, rightโ€, and using those motions you get the actual swimming strokes as well.

Front crawl you are bringing your arms up, and diving them back in. The legs are literally just going up and down. Breaststroke you are going left to right, and butterfly is a lot like frontcrawl where it is up and down as well.

Newton's first law of motion teaches us that โ€œAn object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.โ€

This law of motion I thought was important because in the water, the water itself is that unbalanced force. It slows you down over time, and if you are too slow youโ€™ll either sink or not be able to breath. Or both!


What + Psychology:

Some people try to force it, where they just slam their bodies into the water, and just purely wastes their energy. The surface tension alone is a root cause of exhaustion for many swimmers, let alone the pressure under the water.

For example with gliding (when you push off the wall) I often tell my students NOT to just simply turn and push. In doing so you stay more at the surface, where all of the rough waves hang out. Not to mention in the time of you doing the glide the air in your lungs start to convert to CO2 sooner.

Instead I tell the person to sink, turn, push, which is a more practical glide for longevity. Maybe not so much during a race/competition. Anyways by adding the sinking portion you allow yourself to stay under the water as you streamline yourself away from the wall. Maximizing your distance by pushing against more balanced/calm water.

Small things like that over time add to your ability to cut physically through the water more, but it starts in the head and how you approach each swimming attempt.


Taking an Alternative Approach to Learning

The methodologies here on this newsletter arenโ€™t extremely different than other swimming instructors, but the difference comes in the multi-faceted approach this swim academy gives you. The polymathic mindset fits in wonderfully in swimming, as you need to keep track of many things at once.


Disclaimer:

This is advice for people to level up their swimming, or perhaps get started in the first place. While you swim you should make sure you are doing so in a public facility with a lifeguard on duty for safety.


The Lesson of Being in the Moment
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We must stay in the present moment, and realize that we can only control how we react to situations. Do not get too caught up in the past, or the future. Rather be actively engaged in the present moment. https://youtu.be/gZuprw5NN4o

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C'est la vie, c'est lamour. Two things I have been keeping in mind, it is life, and enjoying the love of fate. Second: It is love, and how romance intertwines with our life.


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