Technique and Style (definitions)

Technique (from the Greek word tekhne) is defined as an art, a skill, or craft; a technique, principle, or method by which something is achieved or created (Oxford Dictionaries). Teaching the technique of swimming (monofin technique) is about transmitting specific motor skills to reach a goal. For us, it is moving effectively underwater, in apnea, with a monofin. Based upon scientific knowledge and considering environmental constraints, equipment, and regulations, technique proposes a theorization of the most effective movements.

The Style, is the athlete personal interpretation of technique. The athlete tries to apply the swimming technique with his own resources. The result of teaching technique is a swimming style – Basile Grammaticos.

The monofin technique will be different depending on whether you are doing DYN, CWT, or SPEED APNEA. and the following parameters need to be considered: 

The discipline regulation:
CWT and DYN are regulated, but as far as I know, there are no particular limitations concerning using a monofin to perform in these discipline. It has to be noted that new records in bifins and monofins are now differentiated. This new regulation helps to separate two swimming techniques which were sometimes combined until now.

The material (gear):
All the monofins on the market respect the CMAS regulations concerning monofin dimensions. As I stated before in previous posts, the technique’s innovations impact the swimming technique, and can force sporting institutions to create more legislation in order to control the development and safety of the discipline. In the 2000s, with the new Andronov monofin foot pocket, CMAS regulated the monofin’s dimensions. Currently, the monofin cannot be over 760x760x150mm. By default, freedivers choose to use the finswimming monofin. 

The hydrodynamics laws and biomechanical effects:
Hydrodynamics laws help to understand the environment in which the swimmer evolved from. But, it is mainly the biomechanical consequences (behaviour of the swimmer) that will significantly impact the swimming technique. The activity of the swimmer in the water (how he swims), must take fluid mechanics into consideration – Didier Chollet.

The athlete:
In reference to general data about the human body or personal data, information such as age, sex, size, weight, muscular quality, fat mass, length of segments, the neuromotor quality of the athlete, energy profile, the athlete’s motivations, etc. all need to be taken into consideration because they can lead to technical adjustment. 

How to theorize the swimming technique?

We can theorize the swimming technique by drawing detailed chronological images of the swimming movement, like a kinogram :

“kinogram” : Underwater dolphin kick by Popov ( La Technique de Nage en Monopalme, 1991 Basile Grammaticos – page 4)

This method will help the athlete have a mental image of the movement. However, this schematic representation cannot show any evolution of the technique throughout time. In order to try to transmit my “version” of the monofin technique for you, I will follow the method of one of my university teachers, Didier Chollet, who explained swimming techniques by defining technical principles to be respected.

The swimming technique and its principles can be learned. You have to understand and practice them to be able to swim with an effective style. You have to have some knowledge to understand the effects of certain actions and/or interactions, and then you will be able to act on them in a coherent way.

Practice is the key !

Theo-Patrick FOURCADE

Next post : Basics knowledge before talking Monofin Technique

La Technique de Nage en Monopalme, 1991 Basile Grammaticos
Approche Scientifique de la Natation Sportive, 1992 Didier Chollet
– Technologies et Techniques des Sports : le regard de l’histoire et des sciences humaines et sociales, 2017 Luc Robène

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