If you feel like you are sinking when you are swimming, you are not sinking to the bottom, it is your legs that are dropping. This creates the sensation of sinking and emotionally you feel on high alert, your profile in the water changes, your surface area and drag profile increase significantly.
To feel balanced we must look at our posture and body alignment and distribute our weight so that we are horizontally balanced in the water to help our legs sit higher at the surface. To maintain this balanced, near weightless position the movement of your legs must be initiated correctly. If you use your foot to initiate the kick this will create a bend in the knee and cause your upper leg to drop, sending your legs downhill and creating a space above your leg for water to sit.
With the help of the Bancroft’s Science department, thank you Louis and Hannah, we used my leg dimensions in the photo (NB I am positioned flat in the photo, during front crawl your legs should be rotated with the body) this foot-initiated kick and excessive bend of the knee creates enough space for 8-10kg of water to sit above my legs. That’s a lot of weight!
Effective human movement comes from improving connections and aligning muscles and bones for optimal spinal posture and using the four key muscles that connect the extremities to the spine to keep us together.
Two muscles flex the hip joint:
Psoas Major and Rectus Femorus connects the legs to the spine at the front of the body
Two muscles extend the hip joint:
Gluteus Maximus and Hamstrings connects the legs to the spine at the back of the body
The Latissimus Dorsi is the only muscle that connects the arms to the spine
Put simply, initiating the leg movement from the hip, uses the muscles that connect our legs to our spine and ensures the workload is transferred into the trunk/core and allows for effective human movement.
It will also allow you to displace the additional 8-10kg of water above your legs, which will in turn create a sleeker, longer body-line and more streamlined stroke. Your lower legs and feet will come along for the ride and respond with far greater power moving from the human engine.