Equally as important as maximizing propulsion, is maintaining momentum.
There is no point putting huge effort into an arm stroke if the position
of your body is such that it immediately acts as a brake.
Here’s how to stop it happening.
The usual culprit, particularly for men, is the bulk
of the thigh and buttock muscles weighing the legs down so that rather than
lying horizontally just beneath the water surface they hang down towards
45º below it.
To correct this don’t think about forcing the legs up, but
pressing the chest into the water.
This will automatically make your legs
rise behind you.
Try it by pushing off the wall and gently kicking
with your hands by your sides and your head in the water.
Push your chest
into the water and feel your legs rise behind you, then lift your head (and
chest) up forwards to breath and you will stop moving as you feel them
So keep your chest pushed into the water at all times, as
you rock from side to side and as you breath.
Believe it or not, you do not have to lift your
head and chest up out of the water to breath either when swimming front crawl. To prove this to
yourself stand up in the pool and hold your hand vertically with the
fingers just above the water surface pointing to the ceiling and the palm
of your hand just below it.
Now push against the water. Notice that the water level just behind your
hand is lower than the rest of the pool. When your head is in the water
moving forwards as you swim it has the same effect. It creates a low in the
water surface which you can use to breath.