The eggbeater kick is a hands-free form of treading water that allows the swimmer to remain vertical. It is a style of kicking where the swimmer's legs alternate one-legged breaststroke kicks. This form provides continuous support because there is no break in the kick.
The eggbeater kick allows the swimmer to freely use their hands,remain stable in the water without swaying, maintain a constant vertical position, and [clarify]. However, it is also difficult to learn, requires a lot of practice, and can cause knee problems due to the circular rotation of the knee joint.
The eggbeater kick is used in several different types of swimming activities.
- Water polo players use this style of kick so their hands can be free to shoot, pass, dribble and control the ball. Water polo players need to perfect the eggbeater kick to have success. Goalkeepers must be able to do this especially as they need to have the power to get to the ball.
- Synchronized swimming uses this style of kick so they can perform other important skills that require stabilization. The eggbeater kick allows the swimmers to lift teammates out of the water.
- Lifeguards must demonstrate they know how to use this kick because it allows them to use their hands to rescue victims. If lifeguards were to use another form of treading water they would be preoccupied with their hands, making them unable to help a drowning victim.
In a schematized manner, a swimmer treading water using the eggbeater kick is:
- In a sitting position;
- has knees bent at almost 90 degrees;
- has legs a little wider than shoulder width;
- rotates the legs towards himself, in opposite timing, such as that the left leg moves clockwise, and the right counterclockwise.
Swimmers learning this stroke naturally use their hands to scull and tread water, as they attempt to achieve sufficient lift from the kick to remain afloat. The eggbeater kick can be seen as sculling with the legs, as it relies on the same fundamental physics.
The eggbeater kick propels swimmers in an upward direction. The swimmer rotates his or her legs circularly while keeping their feet arched and angled, causing water above their foot to move faster than the water under their foot. Due to Bernoulli's principle, the faster-moving water has a lower pressure than the slower-moving water. This difference in pressure between the moving water and the surrounding water creates a force, propelling the swimmer upwards. The faster the swimmer's feet move, the more upward propulsion he or she receives.
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