It’s called dolphin kick, fish kick, butterfly kick, and other names, but what everybody can now agree upon is that underwater dolphin kicking is the fastest form of swimming. In this post I cover the history of underwater kicking, why its so fast, and which body orientation is best.
If you’re not aware of how fast underwater kicking is, here’s a great video. Hill Taylor does a 23.10 for 50m LC with a backstroke start. Give him a dive and this would be faster than the 50 Free world record.
But how did we get to this point of discovering how fast underwater kick is? Well, it turns out that underwater kicking has a long and fascinating history, probably much longer than you thought.
There is some controversy surrounding the inventor of the dolphin kick. One legend has it that Canadian George Corsan, an instructor and pool designer for the YMCA was teaching “fishtail” kicking in swimming way back in 1911. Another legend has Jack Sieg of the University of Iowa developing it much later in 1935. They both could be true. But both had a common problem. They had no place to use this kick!
Dolphin kick was much slower than flutter kick for swimming freestyle or backstroke, and there was no such thing as butterfly yet. The only other stroke, breaststroke, required whip kicks. So that wonderful insight into swimming (perhaps invented twice!) was lost to the world for until the official recognition of butterfly in 1952.
The next big innovation came about in the early 1950s, when it was realized that breaking the surface increased friction and actually slowed down the swimmer. This spawned the idea of swimming breaststroke underwater for as long as possible, surfacing, then going under …read more
Source: Rick’s Blog