How to dance the swim

Dance With the Water–Part 1

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  • Jim Vance Updated On November 28, 2017
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Here's a question to ponder: What one thing do you need to swim, besides yourself?

Yes, the question is very simple and not a trick question. The answer is water! So many athletes struggle with their swimming because they don't really consider the water.

When poor swimmers show up to the pool or begin to think about their swimming, they only take themselves into account, almost ignoring the water. Ignoring the water is like trying to dance alone to a song meant for couples. Swimming is all about the interaction of the human body and water, so we must better understand the water and what it is telling us before we can better assess our own movements within the act of swimming.

Have you ever been swimming and nothing felt right? You struggle to find your rhythm and your stroke doesn't feel smooth. Then all of sudden, you find your groove and swimming feels so much easier. It's like you can hold the rhythm forever.

Nearly everyone has had this happen to them if they've been swimming for any significant length of time. When this happened to you, did the water change what it was doing? No, of course not. It was doing the same thing the whole time.

What changed in those moments was your perception of and reaction to the cues from the water. The interaction of you and the water suddenly smoothed out. In that moment you were "dancing" with the water.

If you understand the need to interact and dance with the water, then here is another question to ponder: In the dance of swimming, who leads and who follows? The answer may surprise you. The water leads! You must follow the lead of the water.

If your timing with the water and your stroke is off, it's because you are not following the lead of the water. The water determines when you can take the next stroke or begin the next movement, not you. You must wait for the signals the water gives.

Have you ever seen a dance couple who can move quickly and impressively? You can see the female follow the lead of the male, almost as though she knows exactly what he will do next. They know and understand the cues to look for. They can anticipate the next movement and pick up on the smallest cue to keep the rhythm and speed of the movement quick. But when you watch them, it flows without any mistakes.

This is the same in the water. The swimmer must dance with the water, waiting for the cue before beginning the next set of movements and progressing through the water. The better a swimmer is, the better they pick up on these cues and can keep their turnover fast and effective.

So what are the cues swimmers need to learn to pick up on from the water?

Over the next few weeks I will share some of the cues which are greatly overlooked by poor and beginning swimmers, and share some of the videos of drills you can find in my swim skill training plans to help learn these. These drills help teach recognition of the cues from the water, as well as develop skills and speed within the water.

Part 2 explains a drill that works on improving stroke count, speed and efficiency. Other articles will include curious things like tennis balls and rolling-over, which are all included in the plans to help you learn how to "dance" with the water.

If you're struggling to learn the "dance" of swimming, check out our section on swimming techniques, tips, and more and then sign up for a swimming event.

Jim Vance is a USAT Level 2 and Elite Coach for TrainingBible Coaching, and a professional triathlete. Questions or comments can be sent to [email protected]. You can also follow his writings and training advice at his coaching blog,

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Sierra Schmidt Joins New NBC Dance Show

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Sierra Schmidt is taking her dance moves from the pool deck to the stage. Known around American swimming as “the Dancing Queen,” Schmidt announced on her Instagram that she’s competing on a new NBC competition show called Dancing With Myself, which premieres on May 31st.

NBC pitched the show as “a series of high-energy dance challenges” inspired by the continuous viral dance challenges on social media. Contestants learn a new dance each week, bringing their personalities into the routine while competing for a cash prize. While there aren’t judges exactly, Shakira, Nick Jonas, and Liza Koshy serve as mentors to the contestants throughout the show.

While Schmidt is the only professional swimmer who incorporates her dance skills into her pre-race routine, she’s not the only one to compete on a dance show. Adam Peaty, Ryan Lochte, and Pernille Blume have also ventured into the world of reality TV, competing on Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing with the Stars, and “Vild med dans”, respectively. Of the group, Blume placed highest, finishing third.

Schmidt confirmed to SwimSwam that she was able to continue training while shooting. She also pointed out that all the dancing was an effective form of dryland. During the Winter Olympics, Schmidt worked at NBC Sports as a Production Assistant in the Highlights Factory. From there, she went right to filming, which wrapped before the San Antonio Pro Series. “It’s been a crazy couple months,” she said.

Schmidt was a six-time All-Amerian during her collegiate career at Michigan. She won gold in the 800m free at the 2015 Pan American Games. At 2021 Olympic Trials, her best finish was sixth place in the 400m free.

At U.S International Team Trials last month, Schmidt swam one race—the 1500m free—where she finished eighth in 16:36.06.

Dancing with Myself premieres on NBC at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 31.

In This Story

  • Adam Peaty
    Adam Peaty
  • Pernille Blume
    Pernille Blume
  • Ryan Lochte
    Ryan Lochte
  • Sierra Schmidt
    Sierra Schmidt

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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Dancing on the water-ee-ee, I have not seen anything like it anywhere Internet edition "Elements of Dance"

The first mention of dancing on the water dates back to ancient times and is associated with martial arts: Chinese monks left detailed records of exercises must be performed by young people in order to develop strength and accuracy in themselves, learning to overcome the resistance of water in a reservoir. It is characteristic that it is the Chinese who say: “It is impolite to be ugly”, and perhaps there is no better way to keep fit than physical exercise.

Water show Fuerza Bruta
The final of Eurovision 2009, which took place in Russia, became the most interesting, emotional and the most spectacular in terms of performance in the history of the contest. A phenomenal Argentine show - Water Pool Show Fuerza Bruta, which was invited by the organizers to entertain the public, contributed a lot to this. And, admittedly, the idea was a wild success. In the luminous transparent pools suspended under the dome of the Olympic, figures of people dancing in the water suddenly appeared. The costumes, or rather weightless tunic dresses on the dancers, which either stuck to the bodies or fluttered in the water, caused a direct association with modernity among connoisseurs of modern dance. They really danced, creating water whirlwinds around themselves, complementing their movements with the movement of water. A bewitching, almost unreal picture with hidden emotions made a powerful impression. However, this is the reaction of the audience wherever the group went with their performance.

The show-sensation for the Moscow Eurovision was "written out" from Buenos Aires. Fuerza Bruta at that time was a very young project: Argentine acrobats showed their first water-dance program in 2005 and almost immediately became the favorites of the public, earned critical acclaim and received many awards. Today, exotic dances in the water performed by Fuerza Bruta amaze with even brighter performances and special effects. The show combines technical innovations with dynamic music and interesting finds in choreography. Has no analogues in the world.

Synchronized swimming
We observe a more familiar combination of dances and the water element in synchronized swimming. Modern sports dancing in the water is always interesting and spectacular. It is not for nothing that synchronized swimming competitions are constantly held with a full house of spectators. Girls with chiseled figures demonstrating their skills invariably arouse admiration, especially since synchronized swimming is traditionally one of the skates of our Olympic team. It is Russian women who are rightly considered trendsetters in this art, which harmoniously combined sports and dance. Of course, it is not at all necessary to be an outstanding athlete in order to master the technique of dance. Actually, even the ability to swim is not such an important condition as it might seem: for those who find it difficult to stay on the water, a special belt is provided.

Dancing in the water - fun fitness for everyone
Such a dance, in fact, is not much different from the choreography on land, but there is one key point: exercises that you are used to doing easily in a normal environment can become unexpectedly difficult in the pool and vice versa. The fact is that in water the human body loses up to 30% of its weight, and besides, it has to cope with resistance. Training is usually complicated by special shells in the form of foam dumbbells and similar mini simulators, which are practically not amenable to sinking. The ability to move in water is achieved by trying to submerge the foam so as not to be on the surface yourself. Subduing an unfamiliar environment, you not only learn to feel "like a fish in water", but also have an invaluable healing effect on your body along the way.
Have you been dreaming of losing a few pounds? Are you suffering from back pain? Do you often experience stress, are prone to apathy, insomnia? Welcome to the pool. Moving from side to side, especially if you cannot boast of the skill of a swimmer, is not always interesting. But dancing on the water can turn every workout into a holiday. You need quite a bit for this: a swimsuit, a hat, slippers and the opportunity to visit the pool several times a week. And, of course, the desire to improve yourself, especially since such an opportunity is provided: rhythmic music, fun splashing water, an unusual dance.
It all starts with a warm-up, work on problem areas of the body, stretching. In an unfamiliar environment, these exercises cause completely different sensations. And even if a virtuoso dance is still far away, water is the best coach and the best doctor. Here, your joints do not suffer from excessive physical exertion, and the likelihood of injury is minimized. Water, like a wise healer, will help with osteochondrosis, reduce cellulite, and have the necessary effect on high or low pressure. Such exercises calm, slow down the heart rate, strengthen the cardiovascular system. Just do not forget to follow simple rules: for example, it is not recommended to stay in the pool for more than an hour so as not to overload the kidneys, you should not eat up before and after training - it is better to limit yourself to yogurt, salad, fruits.
Aesthetic and useful, dancing on the water is your good mood, cheerfulness, cleansing and renewal of the body, the best way to take care of your own health and attractiveness.

English, dance and swimming lessons

Each of the residents of Chelny, whom we will talk about today, decided to learn a new occupation far from a young age. And at the same time, he proved to himself and others that you can learn to professionally dance or swim, learn English not only when you are young, but also when you are already over 30 or 40.

English helps... to save money
Vladimir Ivanov, director of "Business Center" LLC, already after forty-five learned English. He now freely communicates with all foreigners who come to the shopping center "Orange", he has no language barrier when traveling abroad.
“Ambition and a great need for language made me take up textbooks,” he says. — I felt the need to learn English back in the mid-1990s, when we started selling imported household audio and video equipment. All annotations were written exclusively in English, so I had to use the services of an interpreter. That's when I thought - why didn't I learn English in due time? I realized the need to learn the language even more when I began to go on business trips abroad - everyone there - both Germans and Dutch - know English perfectly. But you don't know the basics and you can't approach a person and ask the right question... Without knowing the language, it's hard to do business now, since all business communications and negotiations are conducted in English.
Two years ago, an entrepreneur enrolled in an English course. The director of a large shopping center began a normal academic life. He went to school three times a week and did his homework in the evenings. As he himself admitted, it was difficult, I had to find time. But the efforts paid off. During his studies, he learned to speak well, read English without a dictionary, write short documents, emails, and messages on his own.
Now Vladimir Ivanov takes every opportunity to develop and improve his English. He tries to communicate with foreign guests who come to the city, corresponds with visitors to the "English lovers" site, looks through the news on foreign sites ... He even tries to read books and watch films in English.
By the way, the entrepreneur shared that knowledge of English can sometimes bring financial benefits.
- Knowing English, buying a ticket or booking a hotel via the Internet is cheaper by 30-40 percent, he admitted.

She was afraid to enter the water, but now she is participating in competitions
Lyudmila Galina, a primary school teacher at secondary school No. 44, was afraid even to enter the water only two years ago, and now she is participating in competitions in sports swimming.
- Learning to swim was my old dream. For many years, when my husband and I went to rest on the sea, I sat on the shore and watched with envy how others were swimming, - says Lyudmila. - And I always had a fear of water, the fear that there was no bottom under my feet, I could not even enter the water, panic began. My husband advised me to go to work out with a trainer. And I decided, I wanted to overcome internal complexes, to believe in myself.
Lyudmila Galina has been swimming for two years now. She goes to classes once a week, there is not enough time for more. He says that the fear of water disappeared after the very first classes. Initially, she set a goal for herself - to learn how to stay on the water and swim more or less tolerably. This goal has long since grown into another. The new occupation fascinated her so much that the shuttle first learned to swim in the style of breaststroke, crawl, and now she is mastering butterfly, a style that is considered the most difficult in swimming. After six months of training, the coach invited her to take part in competitions between the swimmers of the club. Lyudmila agreed.
In her first competition, the novice swimmer did not take a prize, but participating for the third time, she showed "class" - she swam to the finish line first.
- I began to feel much more confident, - says L. Galina. “Swimming has also been good for my health. I used to have problems with blood pressure. Now I feel very good. When I go to the pool, I switch off from all the problems. When, having learned to swim, she went to the sea, she experienced indescribable delight. My husband is proud of me, because now I can race with him to swim to the buoys...

Dancing is recreation, sport and communication
Irina Karimova, director of the Ura advertising agency, became interested in ballroom dancing last November. For six months of classes, she learned to dance the waltz, tango, rumba and passoble.
- Always wanted to dance, but couldn't find the time. As a child, I went to a dance club, but all this was forgotten a long time ago. At work, I often travel to foreign countries, and I am pleased to see how people dance - for many foreigners, dancing a waltz or tango is a common thing. At discos, couples beautifully perform Latin American dances, - Irina tells about how her passion began. - I wanted not to stand on the sidelines, but to show that we are not “barely born”.
Well, then, as in the saying: "If you want to improve the world, start with yourself." Now Irina goes to the dance club twice a week with a professional athlete. The people in the group she came to have been dancing together for four years now, and therefore she had to actively engage and not only learn, but also catch up.
- At first, as soon as I arrived, I had a panic - everyone can dance, but I can't, - Irina shares her impressions. - And now the coach says that I am in good shape. She taught all the dances at the same time - the waltz, the tango, and the passadoble - a Spanish dance from the Latin American program.

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