So, what are the three keys to a great undulation? The first one is a strong core. Undulation starts and stops at your core. Your core is the key component if you had to pick one of these three to create and have undulation.
The second part of the undulation, that’s important is understanding Newton’s Law that if something goes up something else must come down. So a lot of times as a coach, you’re coaching age group swimmers and you’re promoting a lot of undulation, you’re going to get a lot of up and down movements. And at the end of the day, yes, you do move up and down these from Butterfly, but you want to make sure that all of these movements that you’re doing, up and down, specifically, are making you go forward. So you want to fly forward so there’s still a little bit of an element of staying low to the water to make sure that we’re not spending too much time in the vertical plane versus moving through that horizontal plane.
The last key component to a great undulation is body alignment. You want to lead with your chest, not your head. Very rarely do we see a lot of swimmers under the water be able to push their head through their arms because that kicks your body lower under the surface of the water, which is a good thing because it pops the hips up on the backside. But if you start raising the chest back up, then you’re leading with the head. It’s gonna kick the body up again brought about by an intense alignment, really perfectly alignment, so that way there’s just some more drag associated with that positioning.
I like this picture because you can see here how this swimmer from his bum to his back up through to his head is in fairly good alignment. He is probably looking a hair more forward than I would say is great. I’d probably have had his goggles look just a little bit more down to the top of the head isn’t so far up. But that was a good depiction of if the head is just slightly out of alignment, you can see it, and then you can also see all these water disturbances that are happening because as he’s swimming forward, obviously, he’s crashing into the water. As his head is going up and down through the water itself it’s going to create some splashes too. The larger the surface area, with any of the strokes, that is going against the water then the more resistance that you have against you. The smaller surface area and better body alignment we can have, the less drag that we have.