The Break Down of Freestyle!

January 12, 2022

The first two weeks of training should help you understand some of the basic swimming concepts and become more familiar with the ever-growing swimming terminology! For instance, this week we are working on the “grip and feel of the water”, now we must admit, this sounds like some sort of water-whisperer type nonsense! However, it’s exactly what we mean! There are certain points in the stroke, that we want to use the resistance of the water to push us forward, we do this by literallygrabbing the water and pushing our bodies past this grab point!

TOP TIP: The slightest change of angle with your hand can completely change the direction in which you move, therefore you must focus on the catch position. To find the catch position, think of how your hands look when you scull, likewise to find the scull position, place your hands on your cheeks, you will notice that this forces a subtle cupped position – apply this with a stiff wrist and you have your catch position!

Introducing The Four Phases of a Single Freestyle Stroke:

  1. Hand Entry: Your hand should enter in line with your shoulder to prevent crossing over your centre line – this is an imaginary line down the middle of your body, which you should never cross! The reason we stay outside of this line, is to ensure that all your energy is going into moving forward. If you cross the centre line, you are applying force to the side, meaning the propulsion you receive will be to the opposite side, creating that well known snake motioned stroke. We want to push back to move forwards!
  2. The Catch: This occurs immediately after your hand enters the water. The catch is basically a small scull pushing down into the water, however it is called the catch, as you are literally trying to catch or grab the water, to use the resistance to push you forward during the underwater pull. This is one of the rare occasions where we want to have water resistance!
  3. Underwater Pull: This can be further broken down into the initial downward phase and the latter backwards phase. Initially you want to push your palm and forearm down into the water WHILE keeping your elbow at the surface, to create a greater surface area in which to grip the water. Once your hand passes the line of your chest, you begin to rotate your body in the direction of your stroke arm, keeping your hand close to your trunk, explosively push past your hip until your hand exists the water.
  4. The Recovery: The recovery, as suggested by its name is the relaxed part of the stroke! Its purpose is to get your hand from the exit position back to its entry position. Just remember to keep your elbow high in the air and pointing to the ceiling WHILE your hand stays directly below. This ensures that your hand is in the perfect position, ready for the catch!

WATCH: All four of these phases put together in full Freestyle swimming here!

Week two of your training programme is now available within your dashboard! Depending on individualSFAM event days, our associated pools are beginning their training at different times – so don’t panic if you haven’t started yet!

If you haven’t done so already login to your dashboardand register your place for a SFAM event day and gain access to our first round of technique clinics taking place at the end of this month!

Don’t forget to update us on your weekly progress using #SFAM

Good luck and enjoy!


Swim For a Mile Team

logo logo logo