How Synchronized Swimmers Eggbeater
Treading water is an easy skill learned by almost everyone who has spent time in water. It's a safe, simple way to stay afloat.
However, synchro swimmers demand more from their water treading—they need a move that will not only keep them afloat, but also make difficult stroke sequences and choreography seem effortless during a routine.
This specific type of treading water is called eggbeater. The amusing, kitchen appliance name comes from the way each leg rotates in an opposite direction to create water pressure.
Here is an easy progression for learning to eggbeater and then practice it:
Before You Get in the Water…
...sit in a chair.
- Slide forward in your chair so that you are sitting on the front part of the seat.
- Sit up straight! Practice good posture from the very beginning.
- Move your knees as far away from each other as possible (like doing middle splits, but keep your knees bent and feet on the ground).
- Thighs should be parallel to the floor, knees bent at about 90 degrees, and feet flexed. Start making counterclockwise circles with your right foot and lower leg.
- Try to keep your thighs still, but they will move a little naturally.
- Stop. Try the same with your left foot and lower leg, but this time, rotate clockwise.
- Now do both legs together.
- Practice this movement until the circles on both sides are coordinated and in sync. It will only become more confusing once you hit the water.
At the Edge of the Pool…
...just put your legs in.
- Sit on the edge of the pool and put only your legs in the water.
- Repeat steps 2-8 from the first section. Do the exact same movements, only in the water this time instead of a chair.
- Try to feel the water pressure on the bottom of your feet.
- Imagine that you're mixing the water, just like an actual egg beater
- Keep repeating the steps until you feel the movements are coordinated.
- Position yourself in the water with your body straight, hips underneath your shoulders, knees up and away from each other, and flexed feet. Find a place in the pool that's deep enough that you won't kick the bottom.
Push the water down and yourself up. Try to feel a lot of water pressure on the bottoms of your flexed feet.
- One of the tricky parts will be keeping your thighs up while you're trying to push down.
- Try to stretch your upper body higher out of the water, and hold the parts of you that are out of the water as still as possible (even if your legs are working furiously!)
- Use your arms to help too. Standard scull with your hands out to the sides of you.
- Practice a lot! It might not feel efficient at first but in time eggbeatering can become just as natural as walking.
Try starting with an action you know well: The breaststroke kick.
1. Sitting up straight in the water, breaststroke kick towards the bottom of the pool.
2. Now alternate legs, kicking only one at a time.
3. Still alternating, bring your knees closer to the surface keep them wide apart.
4. Begin kicking out to the sides instead of towards the bottom.
Make minor adjustments until it becomes more like the eggbeater than breaststroke.
Moving as you eggbeater, or traveling in all different directions, is a required skill for routine swimming. Depending on what the choreography is, sometimes you'll be able to use your hands, only one hand or none!
Include laps of eggbeater as part of your warm-up. Synchro swimmers of all levels warm up this way—from novices to Olympians.
How to get your eggbeater moving:
To travel to the side: If you want to travel left, raise your right knee higher than your left and point the bottom of your right foot toward the wall that you are moving away from.
Push water with your right foot towards that same wall, and as you do, remember to keep your left leg under you at all times.
To travel right, use the same plan using the opposite leg as indicated.
To travel forward: Bring your heels closer to your thighs. The bottoms of your feet should point towards the wall behind you. And remember to keep your head, shoulder and hips vertically in-line. Your legs should stay right underneath you- the tendency is to lean forward.
Do some of the laps using only one or no hands.
Traveling to the right: Laps with your wrists out, left arm out to your side at a 45 degree angle, or both arms up in a “V shape.
Traveling to the left: The lap options for this side are wrists out, right arm out to the side at a 45 degree angle, and both arms up in a “V shape.
Traveling forward: You can do wrists out laps and two arms up again in a “V.
Rise to the Challenge
Working on your eggbeater will always be a part of practice, whether your workout is specifically designed around its improvement or you're just using it regularly in your routine. Since higher is better, this skill is something you will always be able to improve as you become a better synchronized swimmer.