CWTB is one of the 4 depth disciplines, where you only use bifins, and specifically flutter kicks, as dolphin kicks are not allowed. It is the most natural discipline, in the sense that it is the one you use when you go snorkeling. Thibault Guignes, a complete beast in CWTB, shares his tips on how to progress in this amazing technique.
At the start of your dive, when you will do your duck dive, you need to break it down perfectly. It is important to have a very smooth duck dive so that you can start your descent relaxed. In the beginning, you can give some energy in the kicking, as you need to fight the positive buoyancy, so it is important that you give some rhythm. Then it is about when to start the freefall.
You need to find a balance because if you start too early, then you might be a little bit too slow, and if you start too late, then you have already created some carbon dioxide or some lactic acid, making your legs feel already heavy. A good balance is about 15-20 meters past your natural buoyancy. The key is actually to transition smoothly, to keep kicking a little bit, and reduce the frequency of the kicking until you give one last kick from your natural point.
During the freefall, the idea is to be very relaxed in the legs, and the drag will help you align the fins with the rope naturally. Of course, the more flexible you are in your ankles, the more hydrodynamic your body will be when you align your fins with the rope. You can also use fins with a slight angle to help reduce this need for ankle flexibility.
During the ascent, having your hands up will really help you reduce your effort, or go faster with the same effort. During the last meters, you can start resting your legs by reducing the frequency of your kicking and take advantage of the buoyancy to float back up to the surface. This way you can finish your ascent without feeling too much lactic acid.
The key point for a good technique in bifins is to reduce the amplitude of your finning. Try to keep a medium amplitude and increase the frequency. Another important point is to have a balanced back kick and front kick. Try to really feel the water against your foot, when you kick, but also the other way around. You should feel your calves working when you back kick. It is really easy to keep your ankle a little bit too loose when you back kick and to lose efficiency. And don’t forget your knees! Bending the knees a little bit, especially on the front kick is ok, just focus on keeping your ankles straight instead, no need to keep the leg completely straight, otherwise, you will have a very big amplitude and not enough frequency.
The head must stay in the axis - not overextended or have your chin facing down. That will minimize the drag. If you keep your arms next to your body, make sure to have them touching your body so that you don’t create too much drag. If you dive with a mask and you use one arm to equalize, make sure to keep your elbow close to your chest. If you decide to have your arms up during the ascent, make sure that your biceps touch your ears slightly. You might need to work a bit on shoulder flexibility to be comfortable in this position.