Watching swimming always inspires the public, competitive and recreational swimmers alike, to improve their swimming. With the 2013 Fina World Championships beginning in Barcelona at the end of July, it’s time to get ready to learn how to take advantage of all the time you’ll spend in front of the tube. Here are the top five things to watch for during this summer’s Swimming World Championships:

  1. Walls: Michael Phelps was known for winning races on his walls. He would go into a wall behind, have a phenomenal underwater kick, and come out ahead. Though Phelps has retired, keep your eyes peeled for a new swimmer to dominate the walls.

     

  2. Breathing Patterns: Shorter races mean that you shouldn’t take many breaths (competitive swimmers are encouraged to only breathe about twice over the entirety of a 50 yard freestyle race), whereas distance swimmers need to breathe much more frequently. While every swimmer is different, these guys are the best of the best, so try to observe how frequently they breathe during races of various distances. Also, it’s important that these swimmers will breathe to both sides, in order to work all their muscles easily, and check the competition on either side.
  3. Breaststroke Kick: Mastering the kick for the breaststroke can be very challenging. Luckily, televised swimming competitions often show great underwater shots of world-ranked breaststrokers doing what they do best. Take some time to note how they avoid dropping their knees to the bottom of the pool, and definitely take a look at how they snap their legs together and allow themselves to glide.
  4. Butterfly Pull: Butterfly is the most confusing stroke, and the most difficult to teach. Many swimmers are confused by the “catch”, or what you’re supposed to do with your arms underwater. Note how they keep their hands about a shoulder length apart, never allow them to get caught under their body, and how they quickly flick them through the water.
  5. Body Rotation: In order to swiftly cut through the water during freestyle and backstroke, it is critical to rotate your body from side to side, rather than barreling through the water with a flat body. Watch how the elite swimmers rotate their entire bodies as if they’re on a skewer, keeping their shoulders and hips in line.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Lochte saying the darndest things.

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