Freestyle is the most popular swimming stroke in the world, and is an essential skill that all swimmers should focus on. We truly believe that every single swimmer has at least one element of their freestyle stroke that can be refined and improved.
1 – Body Positioning
The most important part of swimming is the concept of streamline. This is when your body is as narrow as possible, moving through the water so that you reduce the amount of drag you have.
The placement of your head and where your eyes are looking is critical. When you swim freestyle, try to look down and focus your eyes on the bottom of the pool. Your neck and your head should be in a neutral position, straight above your shoulders.
If you have a neutral head position with your eyes focused down, your hips will naturally lift up, making it much easier to kick. Try to focus your upper body lower in the water, which will make your hips higher in the water.
2 – The Catch
The “catch” refers to your arms pulling water as your body moves forward.
Your hands should be in a tight cupping position, with your fingers pressed against each other so water does not slide through. Cup your hands in a position that could hold a bit of water in your palm. They should not be perfectly flat, but also not very curved, or your hands will not glide as easily in the water.
EVF stands for Early Vertical Forearm. After your arm is fully extended, you will reach your fingertips toward the bottom of the pool, trying to keep your forearm as vertical as possible so it acts as a paddle, pulling a lot of water behind you as you move forward.
After your arm bends down at the elbow, you will begin your pull. You will want to pull straight down along the side of your body, keeping your hand cupped, as your elbow extends at your hips.
3 – The Rotation
Hips & Shoulders
Every time you take a stroke, you will want to keep your head in place, and use your hips to rotate to the right and left. Your hips will initiate the movement, and your shoulders will follow.
4 – Breathing
Head Position & Rotation
The most important part of breathing in your freestyle stroke is to keep a neutral head position. You do now want to move your head forward or up, as this will ruin your body position and waste more energy than you need to. When breathing, you should take a stroke with one arm, and as you reach forward, you’ll notice your full upper body rotating to the side. Your head and neck should follow the same momentum, and move at the same time as your chest opening up.
5 – Kicking
Keep It Simple
The most common problem that beginners face, is kicking too much and too big. This is an easy way to ruin your body positioning and actually slow you down. We recommend keeping it simple, and de-emphasizing your kick.
Short & Fast Kicks From The Hips
In freestyle, you will use a flutter kick. Try to keep your legs almost straight, with a slight kick that really only moves from the knees to your toes. The power and strength comes from your hips. As you move through the water, your legs should kick in a short and quick motion.
6 – Silent Swimming
Heading, Touching, Smelling, Tasting, and Seeing
Focus on all of your senses as you move through the water. This intense focus and thoughtfulness will help you refine your stroke and pinpoint where you might not be as efficient in the water. The goal is to make the least amount of noise as you swim, which means that you are gliding through the water in a smooth motion.