February 18, 2010
How to Swim the Freestyle Stroke
The freestyle is also known as the front crawl or the sidestroke. It is used in competitions but there are no real regulations on how it has to be swum. Most swimmers choose to swim front crawl during freestyle competition because it is the fastest technique. For individual freestyle competitions, however, a swimmer can use any stroke they want, but during medley competitions they cannot use the breaststroke, butterfly stroke or backstroke. The freestyle stroke involves: coordination, movement and breathing.
First off, coordination is the key to successfully learning how to swim. Visualize a line running down the center of the body from the chin to the chest. This line is the axis upon which the whole body should move, and it should extend horizontally in the direction one is swimming. Keep the legs straight with the toes pointed out, and kick up and down. The secret is to continue kicking the entire time. Remain horizontal in the water. A strong kick will keep the legs from sinking behind one’s body. The kick should not make a big splash, but rather, should just churn the surface of the water.
Also remember to move the arms in a windmill motion opposite of each other. While one arm is extended completely out, the other should be all the way back, almost against the side of the body. Keep the hands flat, thumb separated from the index finger and pull the extended arm through the water beneath the body. Bend the arm at the elbow and draw the fingertips along the imaginary line down the center of the body. Stretch each stroke out as much as possible without ever pausing from the windmill motion.
Most importantly, remember to breathe on one side by turning the head to that side as the arm comes out of the water. After that, lift the other arm out of the water and move it all the way forward as the first arm is pulling beneath the body. Then while bending at the elbow, drag the fingertips...