Everyone can swim like an Olympic swimmer for a few seconds.
Not everyone can be an Olympic swimmer. Most aren't going to be able to swim on a Division 1 swimming College rankingsteam (though everyone can swim at the Junior College level. And I highly recommend you consider it if you're in high school.)
The cool part is there is one part of every race where you can move though the water as fast as anyone. And that's pretty cool.
What part is it you ask? Can you guess?
It's the dive. Assuming you have one thing...
A great streamline! A good streamline won't do it. You need a great, perfect, locked in streamline.
When you push off the blocks your body is moving downward with pretty much the same velocity as an Olympic swimmer. Actually, the higher you go, the faster you will be moving. They probably have more forward velocity than you do, but the speed when you hit the water is remarkably the same.
The big difference is when you hit the water. A good swimmer has a tight streamline. They hit the water like a needle. They keep that speed going for as long as possible.
You probably hit the water like a hammer with your hands. And then when the rest of your body enters its like a water balloon being dropped off a high dive..."SPLASH!"
And pushing off the wall is just as bad. Pushing off the wall after a turn is a opportunity to get a lot of speed and then keep that speed as long as possible. Even without a great kick or stroke, your push-off could be very very fast. But it won't be if you don't practice the streamline.
Most swimmers don't work on the streamline. But it's something that needs to be worked on every single day. You should work on it daily at home and during practice. Every chance you get to push-off the wall you should work on that streamline.
When you're brushing your teeth in the morning and evening look in the mirror and check out your streamline. Stand with the sun behind you and observe your streamline in the shadow. Look for sunlight coming from between your shoulders and ears.
The next post will go into details on how to perform a streamline and give you more tips.