Let's check out how the freestyle stroke is NOT supposed to be done, for a change.

In this post, I will examine a short video where you will see a front view of a freestyle swimmer who is swimming against the current in a small swim flume (endless pool).

These endless swimming pools are quite nice, especially if combined with a front snorkel depicted below.

This way you could practice a perfect freestyle swimming stroke without being distracted with flip turns or breathing.

Endless pool - swimming flume
The best pool is the endless pool

However, Let's get back to our front view freestyle video analysis.

I am not sure who this person is, but I'll point out a few obvious bad mistakes he is doing, so perhaps he will appreciate this review.

First, play the video all the way through and then play it again and try to figure out yourself what he is doing right and what he is doing wrong.

Then read below to see the entire analysis to see if you correctly identified some of the most common freestyle stroke technique mistakes.

OK, here it is:

1.) Why is he looking at the camera?

His eyes should be pointing toward the bottom of the pool and his neck should not have any wrinkles.

Why do you need to look down?

The answer is simple, to keep your feet elevated and therefore having less resistance when you swim through the water.

More information can be found in the body position post.

2.) Imagine a line going through his body which would split him into two halves (right and left).

Now check out his hands and where they enter into the water.

The hands should never reach over to the other half of the body (passed the axis).

This causes the swimmer to snake through the water instead of going in as streamlined of a position as possible.

3.) From our view, the left hand is tilted with the palm out when it enters the water.

That shouldn't really happen.

He could catch a lot more water if he would point his palm more toward the bottom of the pool.

Also, such a hand entry is the major cause of shoulder injuries, so be careful here.

4.) Stretch, stretch, stretch.

Check out how on some of the strokes his elbow is bent and he is already starting a movement through the water.

He should reach forward as far as possible to find his catch and roll a little more to each side in order to achieve this.

On the other hand, notice how he is keeping his head steady and only the shoulders rotate, this is a very good indication of a correct freestyle stroke.

5.) I'd also like to point out that the hand on the left from our view when in the water, goes too far to the left when grabbing the water.

He should concentrate to go more under his body with his arms, thus putting less stress on his shoulder and being more streamlined.

I am sure you can think of a few more things that are wrong with this swimming video.

Please don't be shy to share them with me in the comments section.

To get you started on your way to effortless and efficient swimming, check out the introduction to better body and head position in the water while swimming freestyle.

Swim Advice Topics

How Not To Swim Freestyle (Top 4 Freestyle Stroke Mistakes) is part of the following categories: Freestyle and is meant for swimmers in: Level 3 - Intermediate, Level 2 - Beginner

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Comments (10)

RisingSunOfNihon said...
this is nice. Id like to have one of those to train in. I have seen the one in colorado... and they can set to a pase. had a guy go 45 sec 100m pace and he completed for 30sec or something like that!
Sladed said...
I would say that sometimes his left hand entry is going in with his arm completely extended. If he shortens it up and enters with his elbow bent and THEN extends his arm completely, air bubbles will not be stuck on his hand as he pulls. Other times the entry is to far across his body. I agree: he should also adjust his hand possition to catch more water.
goyalakshay said...
one major error...his palms r open. according 2 me d fingers must b close 2 each other so u can push more water. in this video d fingers r open so lot of water passes frm between.
libor said...
to: goyalakshay

I am not sure I fully agree with you about the fingers. Yes, in this video the fingers are bit too far apart when the swimmer enters the water up top. At the entry time your fingers should be relaxed, but together, you are right on the money here. However, when moving your hand through the water the fingers should be slightly apart instead of tightly stiffed together. You would be surprised, but you do get more of a pull if your fingers are a bit apart. :)
capricorn said...
I agree with the 'fingers slightly open' technique. I find it much easier to pull the water back if my fingers are a bit open.
there is one thing I would like to ask you . When my arm enters the water it is straght and not bent at the elbow as it should be. I loose all rythem if I bent my arm. How should I counter this problem?
swimator said...
to capricorn: Thanks for your comments. From your description, I would guess you do not roll enough to the sides when you swim freestyle. That is probably why bending the arm messes you up. Check out this video. If you would like to send me a video of yourself swimming or describe in more detail what you are experiencing, I would be happy to give you some tips. ciao
capricorn said...
Thanks for the tip. I will try to correct my flaw.
By the way, I think your blog is very useful for those who want to improve their swiming technique :-)
Christophe Keller said...
Some other mistakes
* Hand should enter the water parallel to the water surface
* Elbows drops a little bit much during the pull
* He 'puts on the brakes': while the arm extends to the front under water, the palms point 45° degrees up, so that the palms push water to the front

Any more? :-)
Tony said...
As his left hand enters the water he lifts it up forcing the elbow down. This ensures he has very little catch at the beginning of his stroke as he has to push down first. This uses a lot of wasted energy and is not efficient. Also agree fingers are too wide open, but this is less of a problem than his initail catch phase.
Libor J said...
@Tony: thanks for the good comment. Ahh, the mystical front catch :), so simple in theory, so complex when put in practice. If you are wondering what Tony is talking about check out this post about early catch in freestyle.

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