Stretching for Success With Longhorn Swimming

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If you want to reach maximum speed in the water, your body's range of motion must have correct form. Flexibility is the key to fluid movement, according to Trey Zepeda, strength and conditioning coach for the University of Texas men's swim team, which will send seven athletes to Beijing to compete in the 2008 Olympics. Here, Zepeda offers up a stretch to help get you loose and limber.

Being flexible lengthens your body's muscle fibers and allows for a better range of motion in the joints—particularly in the shoulders, hips and ankles—which also leads to a better stroke technique. By increasing your flexibility, your shoulders and legs are able to rotate straight ahead, which minimizes energy exerted alongside the body; ultimately this decreases the amount of turbulence.

The best way to improve your flexibility is through daily stretches, like Zepeda's Partner Y Stretch. The Longhorns perform it in a timed setting to stretch their lower backs, hips, glutes and hamstrings.

Partner Y Stretch
•    Spread legs into Y shape and extend arms forward to partner
•    Rotate pelvis and hips forward as partner pulls arms to stretch
•    Hold for 30 seconds; after first 15 seconds, put more pressure on the hips and pelvis to push stretch further

Sets: 2x30 seconds, switching with partner between sets

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