• The Tempo
  • Posts
  • Why Body Position is Critical for Swimming Well

Why Body Position is Critical for Swimming Well

Swimming well, how to know you're hydrated, and training your core the right way

Good morning everyone,

In the last newsletter, I asked you what your race plans were for next season. It was awesome to see such a wide variety of races, distances, and locations. And it just reinforced how there are so many incredible opportunities to compete and push ourselves in this sport.

It’s certainly got me fired up for next season, and you’ve all given me some inspiration for my race schedule 🤔😃

In today’s edition:

  • How good body position can help you nail your swim.

  • Why urine color might not help you assess hydration status.

  • And how to train your core - the right way!

Thanks for being here.

-Matt Sharpe, newsletter editor

Headshot of Matt Sharpe

Have a triathlete in your life who can't stop swimming, biking, or running? Fire this off to them. Forwarded from a friend? Sign-up for free. 


The Principles of Swimming Well: Body Position

The following is an excerpt from our Tempo Pro article on the principles of swimming well.

We want our bodies to be as balanced (horizontal) in the water as possible. This is the position that moves through the water most efficiently and creates the least amount of drag. 

How to attain a balanced body position

Being balanced: Think of your body like a see-saw. When one side is too far up, the other will be down and you will be in an inefficient position.

  • For triathletes, typically, the legs are what lowers the most since there is usually more dense muscle weighing us down. 

  • A quick hack to finding a balanced body position is to push your chest down slightly. This helps raise your hips higher.

Head position: Again with the seesaw metaphor, if your head is too high in the water, then the rest of your body will automatically sink. Your eyes also play a role.

  • Looking ahead about 5-10 feet in front of you will help keep your spine aligned properly.

  • The following video shows the correct head position for maintaining a balanced body position. 

Keep it long: The fastest boats in the world typically have longer hulls. I looked up the actual physics on why, and it was wayyy beyond my pay grade. So just trust me on this one. 

  • As a swimmer, the more you can maintain your length, the faster you will travel through the water.

Drill it out

Try this long dog paddle drill (without a pull buoy eventually) and focus on keeping your body in a balanced position while generating power through the pull phase.

Elite example

Lots to take away from the following video of Olympic medalist, Henri Schoeman. But pay particular attention to the length at extension and his head position throughout.

Want to upgrade your swim, your nutrition, your cycling power, and more in 2024? Become a Tempo Pro member and get faster now!

Do you have something you're working on in 2024?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.


🚽 Urine the know: “Wow my urine is totally clear, I must be well-hydrated.” Wrong! The relationship between hydration and urine color isn’t as simple as we once thought. Random variables like a cold pool can alter urine color and throw off perceived hydration status. [Precision Fuel and Hydration]

🆎 Correct core: Want a stable, strong core? Forget about crunches. Your core is so much more than your abs, which is why you need to train it holistically. [New York Times]

💪 Training through menopause: Menopause can bring about changes in mood, sleep, and muscle loss. Here are 8 key strategies to help manage training and menopause. [Triathlete]

💸 Open the wallet: Ruth Astle is a professional long-course triathlete, who, in her opinion didn’t have a stellar year on the race course. In this video she opens up about her unique struggles this year and how it reflected what she earned as a pro. [Ruth Astle]

🎆 Incredible journey: Rudy Garcia-Tolson has won Paralympic medals and became the first double-leg amputee to finish an Ironman. Check out this interview with Rudy as he talks about the challenges of training for a high-level triathlon. An why he might make one more run for the Paralympics in 2028.


Two great reels with a very similar return-to-training-post-holiday energy ⚡🤣


Airline atrocity: After flying his bike with Southwest four previous times - the airline denied his luggage before his “final hurrah” Ironman. Brutal! [ABC Action News]

Future star: Kenyan triathlete Vivian Hillier has had to battle through adversity, and a recent bike accident to become one of the top young triathletes in Kenya. Now she has her sights fully set on the 2028 Olympics.

Giving a final bow: The pro triathlete retirement class of 2023 is an impressive bunch including Ironman World Champions Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) and Sebastian Kienle (GER).

Abu Dhabi athletes: Registration for TRYYAS 2024 is now open. One of the largest triahlon events in the UAE say over 1300 participants compete last year. [MENAFN]


What did you think of today's newsletter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Join the conversation

or to participate.