How to Swim Freestyle, Front Crawl

Let’s start from the beginning and keep it simple. Think of these as the parameters of freestyle swimming. Guidelines to help you achieve your personal ideal freestyle form.

Body Position: We’ll start at the top, with your head. Keep it steady! Look down rather than forward. Move your head as little as possible. Lifting up will create turbulence as your hips naturally drop and slow you down. Your body should roll back and forth with each successive stroke as you flow swiftly through the water.

The Kick: Your legs should be fully extended with no bend and should move in a ‘fluttering’ motion up and down just below the surface of the water. They should drive the rotation of your body, rather than hinder it. Your arms and torso will take care of the heavy lifting of your freestyle stroke, so keep your legs as streamlined as possible and don’t over-exert on your kick.

Reach, Catch, Pull, Push: Reach forward extending left arm then right arm alternately. Your arms should enter the water at a slightly downward angle from a bent elbow to maximize efficiency. Once you find your arm is fully extended and you catch the water, begin to flex your elbow and pull swiftly back until the arm pushing water back past your hip. Your opposite arm should re-enter and reach into the water with each successive pull.

Breathe! Unless you’re a fish—and if you are, we’d love to hear feedback from you—you’re going to need to come up for air every so often. Breath should be incorporated seamlessly into your freestyle stroke by rotating your body slightly left or right (never lift your head straight up!) while your extended arm completes its pulling motion. You will find your breath easiest by placing your ear on your shoulder and cheek in the water.

Practice! Learning to swim Freestyle isn’t something you can achieve in your mind. Or on your couch. Put on a bathing suit, find some water, and swim!

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