In coaching circles nowadays underwater dolphin kicking is referred to as the “fifth stroke,” which may be misleading since a good dolphin kick helps all four of the other strokes, especially butterfly and backstroke. Yet many masters swimmers started swimming at a time when dolphin kicking was undervalued and so they may not know much about it.
Swimming Science published a three-part article which may help you understand the basics:
- Part 1 discusses the impact of kicking depth.
- Part 2 explores the trade-off between tempo and distance-per-kick.
- Part 3 discusses how kicking orientation (front, side, back) might affect speed.
Of course, a cerebral appreciation for the science behind dolphin kicking won’t necessarily get you down the pool faster! Nothing can substitute for practice; check back here for further articles on this subject.