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Propulsion allows the swimmer to move forward through the water by overcoming drag. Total Immersion teaches propulsive methods after balance and streamlining. A swimmer's forward speed is the difference between the force produced in propelling actions and the force generated by drag. Movements and body positions that minimize drag require coordination and practice but very little strength and thus improve efficiency. Creating propulsive force requires the use of muscular strength, which uses far more energy.

Rather than dividing the propulsive techniques into a front half that "pulls" the body forward and a back half that "pushes" via kicking, Total Immersion drills & swimming always emphasize full body integration, dividing the body into a streamlined left side alternating with a streamlined right side. Rather than increasing the power of the swimmer's leg kick or arm pull, Total Immersion emphasizes coordinated spearing movements with a well-timed two-beat kick.

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