Drag is the resistance that water exerts on your body as you move through it. There are two phases of drag, known as passive drag and active drag. Passive drag is the resistance a swimmer meets while swimming forward. Active drag is the resistance a swimmer exerts.
There are three main types of water resistance that affect swimmers:
- Form resistance: the water resistance is dependent on your body position
- Wave resistance: the resistance caused by turbulence at the water surface
- Friction resistance: the resistance caused by contact of skin and hair in water
Although drag can’t be seen, you can feel it when you place your hand in water and try to move it back and forth. You will feel a slight resistance as you push your hand both ways. However, if you turn your hand at an angle and try the same thing, you will not feel as much resistance. This is, in a way, reducing drag.
Elite swimmers are always striving to reduce as much drag as possible. By cutting down drag, swimmers not only give themselves opportunities to swim faster, but also learn how to swim more efficiently.
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