Divers Underwater


The most basic position for swimming – the streamline, is the body position which minimises resistance as much as possible. The more the body is shaped like a spear, the better the water will flow around it. Whilst the streamline position is optimal for minimising resistance, it is not possible to generate any propulsion from this position. To generate propulsion, our limbs need to move - so we always need to deviate from a spear-like position. However, maintaining a position as close to streamline as possible during our full stroke, will help to get the best of both worlds – maximum propulsion and minimal resistance.


The best way to reinforce the streamline is on every push-off from the wall. As soon as your feet separate from the wall, you should mentally check your compliance with the visualisation cues below. Initially, this may take several seconds, but through consistent practice - you will be able to reduce the number of cues required to achieve and maintain this position on every single push-off.


  • See the bottom of the pool directly beneath head

  • Feel one hand on top of the other

  • Fingers pointed horizontally away from you

  • Elbows locked

  • Upper arms squeezing ears

  • Back arched

  • Legs straight

  • Feet together

  • Toes pointed directly behind you

Please Note: a lack of flexibility may be the reason for non-compliance with certain cues. Some swimmers may lack range of motion in the shoulders to squeeze their ears with upper arms. Swimmers with stiff ankles may also be unable to point their toes directly behind them. However, range of motion can always be worked upon on dry-land, and it is important to appreciate, that every time you get into the streamline position in the water - you are also performing a flexibility exercise that can increase the range of motion. ​​


Although you can eventually achieve true mastery of the streamline position, hitting all nine cues on every push-off, it is very easy for swimmers to become lazy and inconsistent. For this reason, you will always benefit from constant reminders to achieve consistency.  It is important to remember, that although we have to break from this spear-like position to generate propulsion - it is still the most basic position for efficient swimming. A swimmer who has not mastered the streamline, will always struggle with more advanced skills that follow. A swimmer who has mastered the streamline, shows the body control necessary to progress to these more advanced skills.