Swimming techniques to master while scuba diving

While scuba diving is usually thought to be mostly a matter of using weights, fins and breathing gear underwater, your ability to truly enjoy your diving experience requires more. Skilled scuba divers are also skilled swimmers. By learning to control certain swimming techniques, they can more easily move around underwater while diving. In this article, you'll learn a few swimming techniques you should master and have under your belt in preparation for your next scuba diving adventure.

Learning to swim is the first step

If scuba diving happened in a static environment that never changed, you would not need to learn swimming techniques to enjoy your diving excursions. However, the environment underwater is often unpredictable. Learning how to swim can be a valuable asset when changes occur while you're submerged. For example, the currents in the area in which you're diving may change. Or, you may find that you need to quickly avoid some elements in your immediate area. Your ability to master a few swimming techniques can help you leave environments quickly and ensure your safety during your dives.

Submerging feet first

Swimming is largely the practice of moving your body and limbs in particular motions to maximize the direction and velocity in which your body moves. This can include actively swimming in a forward movement toward a determined destination or simply submerging yourself.

Your dive starts with your ability to quickly submerge once you enter the water. When you enter feet first, you should use your hands in a circular, rowing motion starting at your hips and moving upward. Doing so requires balance. If your body is unbalanced or you lack the power necessary to "push" your body deeper underwater, submerging will require significantly more effort.

Submerging head first

Diving and submerging head first often presents unique challenges to people who don't know how to swim properly. You should take care to enter the water as perpendicularly as possible to maximize the direction of your dive. Wait until your fins are completely below the surface before using them to propel your body deeper.

Efficient fin technique

You'll find that your fins can actually hold you back if you're not using them efficiently. If you're trying to move forward quickly underwater, make sure that you're using short strokes. Wide strokes can create a drag around your legs holding your body back despite the power of your strokes.

Body streamlining

When propelling forward, try to keep your body in a horizontal position pointing directly at your destination. Many beginning divers make the mistake of swimming upward without the intention of doing so. That requires more effort and will tire you more quickly. Also, try to restrict your body to occupy as little space as possible while swimming and finning. Keep your arms at your side as you're swimming forward. The less space you need, the more effectively you can cut through the water.

A rewarding scuba diving experience

You don't need to be an Olympic swimmer to master scuba diving. But, knowing a few swimming techniques such as how to submerge quickly, use your fins efficiently and streamline your body can be valuable. These techniques can help you maximize your velocity while minimizing your effort. Don't feel discouraged if doing these things doesn't come naturally. With practice, they'll become second nature. You may be surprised by how much more fun you'll have on your diving adventures once you learn these swimming techniques.