18 November 2009

Webbed fingers

I've seen Waterworld; I know that if we covered the Earth in water a few of us would mutate quickly to get gills and webbed fingers. And then maniacs on jetskis would try to kill us. But then again we'd get to sail a post-apocalyptic trimaran so all would be OK. But I digress, I want to talk about the webbed fingers not Kevin Costner.

After my swim this morning, the local coach mentioned that I'm getting faster. Obviously fishing for a compliment, I obliged and pointed out how great his tips were. He responded beautifully by saying, "if you like those, well how about this one!" and told me that he noticed that I kept my fingers pressed tightly together and that I should allow just a touch of spacing in between them.

My counter-intuitive alert system went off and alarms starting flashing. What the heck? Don't make a paddle? How does *that* make sense?

Standing at the wall, hogging up two lanes for this conversation, we proceeded to experiment pushing our hands through the water with various amounts of space in between our fingers. Sure enough, I felt almost exactly as much push through the water with a slight space but a lot less turbulence at the bottom of my hand and wrist. I guess by allowing that small amount of water through, it reduces vortexes and other non-hydrodynamic stuff. Or maybe I was just looking for some good to come from it.

I had to get to work and didn't have time to try a few laps out with my new technique but I'll experiment tomorrow. Anyone else out there in blog-land do this?


  1. Yeah.. I have tried keeping little spaces between fingers, it does help in increasing the speed a bit by reducing the pressure.

    Swim Fins

  2. I like the feel of the water between my fingers as I keep them slightly separated while swimming freestyle. It is as if I was digging into some kind of gelatine.

    It also feels as if the hands anchor in the water better that way.