Basics of Freestyle Swimming


Swimmers should have a balanced stroke that has sufficient trunk rotation to allow them to attain maximum distance per stroke and an early catch leading into a high stable elbow position underwater.

The Stroke

  • The entry by the hand is made in line with the shoulders.
  • The palm pitched at approximately 45 degrees.
  • As the hand enters, it extends forward as the other arm pushes through to the back of the stroke.
  • The swimmer then applies pressure to the water while making the catch.
  • After the catch is made, the hand travels in an outward and downward direction while the elbow remains firm and assumes a high elbow position.
  • Following the initial pull phase in the outward and downward direction, the angle at the elbow is about 45 to 65 degrees.
  • Inward and upward movement occurs before the push through to the back of the stroke.
  • The arm leaves the water with the elbow leading in a traditional high elbow recovery stroke.
  • Following the recovery the hand enters the water and the sequence starts
  • again.
  • During this full stroke cycle, the legs will have made six downward kicks.
  • Variations are a two‐beat or four‐beat kick