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Fingers together when swimming?

I was told to do a drill the other day to slightly keep the fingers apart when pulling the water. The way our coach was talking it sounded like she was suggesting there should be a gap between your fingers when pulling. Now, I'm not a bad swimmer - 23mins for 1500m - and I've always kept my fingers kept clasped really tight together based on the theory that I can catch more water (also concentrating on forearm pulling water too). Is this right? [X(]

PS Swim coaching is fortnightly so no chance to ask until next week!


  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    You shouldnt really think as your hand as a paddle, more of holding your position in the water as your core rotation sends your body past it.

    You should have them spread slightly, but not too much, this increases the surface area of your hand and the overall surface area of the pull. Now if your thinking, but water will slip through my fingers, it wont! well it will, but not as much as you think as water does have a degree of tension caused by the bonds between molecules. This means you can move much more water due to the larger surface area.

    It is also a good idea to have a nice and relaxed hand, causing it to assume its natural, slightly cupped position.

    On the science side it was shown that a 10 degree spread of the fingers was the optimal finger position! I can link the article if people wan, i think it was published in sports engineering journal.

  • transittransit Posts: 163
    Thanks for the reply Tommi,

    I know it is easy to say now you've said it but I assumed that if it was right to spread the fingers a bit it was due to the fact that the nature of the water means you won't lose too much of it. By keeping my hand tightly cupped and therefore curled in I guess I am reducing the surface area drastically.

    I'll give it a go and see how I get on,


    I'll take your word for re: the science paper, might be too technical!
  • MGMG Posts: 470

    This is an excellent clip of Grant Hacket, shows what we should all be striving for!!
  • transittransit Posts: 163
    Yep, a good clip, watched it ten times in super slow mo., think I will keep that clip to hand. Cheers MG
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    See what he did there? Brilliant.
  • That's so cool. I don't know about anyone else buti have never managed to nail the's' shape thing everyone talks about but after watching that from what I can gather he's basically just touching the top of his hip each time - is that what people mean by it?
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    The S shape is the line his hand follows from entering the water, it moves out to the side past his torso & comes back in to touch his hip.
  • You know what for all the research and talk about this all over the ionternet that is the most consice and easily understood explanation I've read. thanks - i might actually practice this now!
  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    There has been quite alot of talk about the s-shape on this forum, this is my opinion, for what its worth.

    I don't think you should eva be 'thinking' or actively trying to make an s-shape, if you do this you will undoubtedly make too much of an exaggerated S and you will loose power as a result.

    What you have to do it is concentrate on just bringing you arm back straight, but you want to aim to keep you elbow at roughly the same depth as it was when your arm was out straight.

    As you can see from the vid this causes the arm to bend at the elbow, creating a kind of shovel made up of the hand,forearm and upper arm. Now keep pulling back straight, without dropping the elbow.

    If you could see yourself from an underwater camera then you would see that despite concentrating on bringing your arm back straight you have actually made a slight s-shape, causing you hand to move in under your body before it exits.

    This is due to a number of factors including the body rotation and of course the high elbow.

  • learnerlearner Posts: 100
    just picked up on this thread (I'm a bit slow), how easy does he make it look? now i understand what they mean when they say about bending at the elbow. I can see now that my action tends to pull across my body on the pull phase, going up the pool to try this out.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    When I drill for this doing single arm swimming my right arm is pretty good (or it feels OK), the left is shocking...much less S more of a I, but I am working on it..
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