View Full Version : Okay! One more freestyle arm question - revisited

November 9th, 2008, 12:35 PM
I enjoy trying to swim faster by training smarter and not just harder. I also enjoy trying to help other swimmers improve. Swimmers who know all about EVF should not read this thread because it's redundant but for those of you who are curious please read on.

It's important to note that Dr. Counsilman's underwater video showed that great swimmers like Mark Spitz, entered and exited their hands near the same point. This demonstration showed that great swimmers were able to catch water more effectively than slower swimmers. Great swimmers moved their body over their hands vs. pushing water at high velocities past their bodies (swooshing water isn't good).

Doctor Counsilman also showed that every fast swimmer tended to look as if the hand and arm were moving over a barrel during the first quadrant of each stroke. This "over the barrel" motion is now called the catch or Early Vertical Forearm (EVF) position. The EVF is common and has been common among long course, short course, and open water championship swimmers.

The catch or EVF has been around since Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan) and Olympic swimmers like Rebecca Adlington have refined the catch to amazing levels. The past president of the world largest coaching association says the EVF is a skill the differentiates every level of swimmer. Coach Dan Thompson puts it like this, “The catch is what your natural freestylers do naturally that the other 99% of your kids do not. It is a difficult skill to impart. But we must find ways to teach it. Without the ability to engage water early in the stroke, your young swimmers cannot create effective pulling patterns.” Eleven coaches at the recent Senior Nationals at Irvine California were asked the question; what would you teach first when teaching the freestyle. Nine of the eleven said the catch (Early Vertical Forearm (EVF). Like every good swimming coach, no one dismisses the importance of streamlining, timing, kicking, and many other skills vital to swimming speed but if EVF acquisition isn’t at the top of your list it should be.

The following under water videos are fun to watch and will help everyone understand that every swimmer to greater and much lesser degrees have an EVF. EVF is a catch and all swimmers should want to improve it. Don’t let some tell you that EVF is front quadrant swimming because EVF starts in the first quadrant and continues at the beginning of the second quadrant.

Each competitive stroke can be separated into four different segments or quadrants. The front quadrant is where the catch (EVF) “sets-up” the stroke into an effective propulsive position; the second quadrant is where power from a properly set up hand and forearm position occurs; the third quadrant where the release from the power phase and then recovery is initiated; and the fourth quadrant is where the recovery makes the transition to the entry. The all important EVF position or catch is located in the first quadrant and beginning of the second quadrant of each stroke.

Tell me what you think of the following videos. Simply copy and paste the URL’s into your browser and the information should come up. Good Luck Coach T.

Elbows High By Robert Boder / German translation: Felix Gmünder http://www.svl.ch/ElbowsHigh/ This video will say error – simply delete the error page and it should come up.

Faster Swimming With an Early Vertical Forearm Position in All Strokes

In Search of the Dreaded Dropped Elbow by Coach Emmett Hines






Grant Hackett


Ziegler Holds off Laure Manaudou


A picture frame by frame comparison of Thorpe and Hackett


EVF Powerpoint website

http://www.authorstream.com/presentation/tomtopo-78276-pp-swimming-5-without-narration-Imp ortant-anEarly-Vertical-Forearm-Look-Results-Pictures-Search-Dreaded-Dro-w-Entertainment-p pt-powerpoint/