Rotation. Rotation. Rotation.

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If anyone who is not a realtor knows anything about real estate, it is what they say are the top three most important things. Come on, I know you know this one.

Location. Location. Location.

And they are right (says the wife of a swim coach who likes to think she has knowledge about everything).

Which made me think, what’s the equivalent of that for swimming?

Rotation, rotation, rotation.

Cute, right? You like what I did there. Even if you don’t, you can at least roll your eyes, and appreciate the .78 seconds of thought that went into that.

But in all seriousness, rotation is the key to efficient swimming and correct technique.

Why, you ask?

Proper rotation is the leading factor behind: proper hand entry for a good catch position, proper finish and setup for your recovery, and proper timing of the breath.

Hip rotation should be the driving force behind your catch, your breathing, and placing your hand in the water.

If you think any part of what I’ve written so far is wrong I implore you to go jump in the water and try swimming a few laps without rotating your hips. You won’t like it, trust me.

Rotation can seem like such a small part of your stroke that you probably forget you’re even doing it. I was working on a new drill the other day and was so focused on making the first movement of the drill that I completely forgot to rotate my torso.

And let me tell you, it was bad.

My stroke fell apart. I couldn’t move my arms properly. And when I went to take a breath I had to stop completely because my body was just not cooperating.

It’s sort of like what happens when you start thinking about your breathing or your blinking. You don’t even realize you’re doing those things 99.9% of the time. But when you think about them, you realize how important they are to your well being. Especially breathing, please don’t stop breathing guys…

Next time you get in the water try swimming without rotating your hips and see how it feels. If you don’t notice a difference, it’s time to start focusing on rotation because it is the foundation of a proper and efficient freestyle.

And if you do notice a difference maybe have someone there to watch you as you start to flail about in the water. It’s going to be pretty entertaining.

Rotation drills should be included in your swim workouts at 2-3 times a week. They will help you in so many other aspects of your stroke, and the slightest improvement in your rotation will come over tenfold as a whole.

Lissa Henderson, Tri Swim Coach