Most coaches would agree that you shouldn’t streamline like Denis Pankratov.

Streamlining is the first competitive swimming technique every child learns. It’s talked about on pool decks every day at every level. Eddie Reese said at last year’s ISCA Coaches Clinic that when he visits club teams to watch recruits he looks for two things: if your swimmers are streamlining off the wall and if they are fly kicking off every wall.

I assume Eddie would have overlooked Denis Pankratov’s streamline if he had had the opportunity to recruit him. That’s because the Russian’s streamline is purposefully bad.

Who the heck is Denis Pankratov? Time for a little swimming history lesson…

  • winner of the 100 Fly and 200 Fly at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics (the 2nd man to ever win both Fly events at the Olympics — first guy was named Mark Spitz)
  • World Record holder in both 100 and 200 Fly in both SCM & LCM
  • helped create the 15 meter rule in butterfly by kicking underwater much longer than anyone else
  • was a notable side breather like Mel Stewart, the 200 Fly Olympic Champion in 1992
  • Ivan Drago’s stunt double

Denis Pankratov or Ivan Drago?

So why did Denis Pankratov spread his arms and make little scull movements with his hands while in streamline? Did it loosen his shoulders? Relax his breathing? Perhaps set up his stroke better?

I’ve got not idea but I’d love to find out.