How to Swim: Floating

Published by Swimaholic001 on

Among the first things you’ll be taught in your swimming lessons is how to float. Once you learn how to float, you can learn any swimming style easily. This post is part of the how to swim series, and explains the science in floating.

Swimaholics Kenya: Floating in water

Floating in water

Although our bodies may not naturally float in water, the correct posture will definitely help in bringing your body up. “Relax your body!” an impatient instructor will say every time your body sinks into the water, but will fail to guide you further. Positioning your head well in water ensures that your body is streamlined, and your legs come up. But there is a whole lot of physics on this, which I am sure you’ll find interesting.

How to swim-posture

How our posture affects buoyancy

Archimedes was the man responsible for advancing floating theories. When an object can displace as much water as it weighs, it will float. The hole-the total volume of an objects mass, should displace water of heavier weight. A ship of one ton will float in the ocean since it displaces water of as heavy weight. Increasing the volume of the ship, increases its hole, allowing it to float better and carry more weight.

Swimaholics Kenya-How to swim

How to swim: Head position

Similarly, we need to increase the hole of our bodies, by covering as much surface area on the water and increasing buoyancy. This can be done in a number of ways. First is by breathing to increase the volume of the lungs. Breathing effectively enables us to carry more air in our lungs, which makes us more buoyant. Second is keeping your face in water, and the head at 90o with the floor of the pool. This way, you achieve streamline, which increases floating ability. Lastly is by kicking the legs, either in flutter or frog kicks.

Swimaholics Kenya: water flow

Water resistance and flow

So, by lifting your face out of water, your legs will tend to sink to the bottom. Similarly, tensing up the body will increase the density, and you’ll sink faster. So next time you hear ‘Relax!’ keep your face in water, consciously check whether your muscles are tense and free them up, and stretch your body into streamline. Try it. I know it works.

Take up any of our swimming classes to learn all of this and more.


I love swimming. I would like as many Kenyans to learn how to swim. Join me in my quest


Emmitt Living · July 11, 2018 at 12:05 am

This is a impressive story. Thanks!

Wilma Asrari · July 12, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Don’t wear seat belts lest you drown in your own urine?

Breast stroke 101 - Swimaholics Kenya · July 11, 2018 at 4:36 pm

[…] discussed in this article on floating, a near horizontal body position presents a suitable streamline that reduces resistance in water. […]

Breaststroke 102: Arm Movement - Swimaholics Kenya · August 15, 2018 at 2:00 pm

[…] recap on the last lesson, the movement of the legs and arms in alternation allows smooth streamline which is essential to breaststroke- and any other style. To be able to move on to practicing hand […]

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