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tri'ing
June 23rd, 2003, 05:36 PM
Hi,

My swimming interest lies in triathlons, and I have heard of two fairly different techniques for freestyle.

I've been getting swimming tips from active.com. They advocate hand entering the water thumb & forefinger first, rotating to flat, and then the arm traces an "s" shape under water, elbow slightly bent.

Recently, I was told by a master's coach that the proper form is to have your hand enter the water finger tips first, then bring the arm through the stroke with the elbow at 90 degree bend so the arm below the elbow is parallel to the bottom of the pool.

I've tried both, and the second way seems more awkward (probably because it's new to me), but the only other difference I can find is that it seems to use different arm & back muscles.

What's the "right" form and why?

Thanks,

tri'ing

eliana2003
June 23rd, 2003, 05:48 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by tri'ing
[B]Hi,


Recently, I was told by a master's coach that the proper form is to have your hand enter the water finger tips first, then bring the arm through the stroke with the elbow at 90 degree bend so the arm below the elbow is parallel to the bottom of the pool.



Hey there,
it would seem to me that using the second method would be asking for elbow trouble... but then again, what do i know? :p

peace...

knelson
June 23rd, 2003, 06:07 PM
I'd say the correct answer is somewhere in between the two scenarios you describe. It sounds like the coach is trying to get you to keep a high elbow position, which is good, but be careful that you aren't putting too much stress on your shoulder.

The "s" pattern you mentioned in the first method is a little out of date, but your hand entering slightly tilted toward the thumb is good advice because it will keep your elbow high. You shouldn't emphasize the S pattern in your stroke. Instead concentrate on keeping a high elbow and pulling through with your hand pitched to "press" against the water as much as possible at all phases of the stroke.

There are some good technique articles on the USMS site which will describe proper technique much better than I can :)

tri'ing
June 23rd, 2003, 06:23 PM
I tried to find something on the USMS site before I posted, but couldn't find anything. I must have been looking in the wrong places?

knelson
June 23rd, 2003, 06:25 PM
Look in training > technique

tri'ing
June 24th, 2003, 01:00 PM
OK, I must be blind. I read every article there which was not explictly for breaststroke, and saw a lot on form for gliding after flip turns, an interesting article on front quadrant swimming, and a very rousing pep talk on reducing stroke count, but nothing on the mechanics of stroke (how your hand enters the water, position of the arm thru out the stroke). Help!!:confused:

Phil Arcuni
June 24th, 2003, 05:37 PM
The best way to do it is to get some videos or watch a good swimmer. As you describe it, you were told wrong both times.

Generally, the hands enter the water finger tips or sightly little finger side first. This is to prevent 'impingement' which could cause damage to your shoulders. While this happens your body rolls onto the side that the hand entering the water is on. *Without* pushing or pulling, the hand then goes fairly deep in the water, while the elbow remains high. I like the picture of trying to reach over a big object in front of you (a barrel is the usual object.) But in that position your lower arm (from the elbow to the hand) is *perpendicular* to the bottom (not parallel!) with the fingers pointing down. From there you pull staight back. The hand remains pointing down or at a 45 degree angle toward the body's midline, but the elbow is always higher than the hand, and remains forward (toward the direction you are travelling!) of the hand at all times, except at the very beginning. Apparently, the 'S' shape is a misperception of the motion of hand relative to the rolling body - the hand actually travels straight back.

But a short written description can be confusing and certainly leaves a lot out of what is really a complicated full-body motion.