By Chris Klinko
Aquatics Director and Hydras Head Coach
Reducing resistance and generating power are the keys to great swimming!
I constantly find myself coaching people on two things: timing and body position. When swimming freestyle, you always want to make sure you are sliding through the water with as little resistance possible. At the same time, you want to time the workings of your stroke in a way that keeps your body moving smoothly through the water generating maximum motion.
How do you minimize resistance as you are swimming freestyle (crawl stroke) through the water? By keeping your body position horizontal to the surface of the water. Your legs have a natural tendency to sink. You can counteract this tendency by leaning/pushing your chest lower in the water.
The most effective freestyle swimmers spend the majority of the stroke swimming on their side, keeping one shoulder out of the water. This can be done by rotating side to side during the arm stroke. Maintain a glide on your side after each stroke while the opposite arm is in recovery.
Engage your body rotation via your arm stroke. Timing is crucial in accomplishing this! One you establish a good “catch” (grab hold of the water in front of you) using EVF (early vertical forearm) while on your side, rotate your body to the other side as you take your next stroke. The rotation should be initiated by kicking down on your with your leg on the stroking side as the stroke begins.Technically you only need two kicks per arm cycle to accomplish this. The same can be applied to a six beat kick (every third kick is a down kick on the pulling side as you begin your stroke.
Of course, this takes lots of practice. But if you put the time into it, you will find your swimming becoming more easier, more efficient and more fun!