View Full Version : Looking for Comments on my Freestyle Stroke - video

March 9th, 2015, 09:02 PM
Below is a one min video of various angles of my freestyle stroke....I'm a 50 old geezer :) who's looking for some constructive criticism. Greatly appreciate any input as to arm positions thru stroke, head, kick, etc....At present, I can only swim about 300 yards free continuously before getting winded. Not looking to be a competitive swimmer just more efficiency and endurance.



March 9th, 2015, 10:44 PM
Your head seems to be a little too low...like it's completely underwater. But I can't really see how you'd get it up more without your lower body sinking.


March 10th, 2015, 02:16 AM
I am in awe of your plantar flexion. Envious! Wish mine were as good. You are able to achieve almost 180 degrees. That is a huge natural advantage and if you work on your kick, it could become a great weapon. Having said that, you kick with your knees bent. You want to kick with a straighter leg. Kick from the butt and try not to let the knee bend.

Your head position is good. You are looking down at the bottom of the pool.

Your hips are sinking. This is going to cause a lot of drag. (One of the reasons you are getting winded so quickly). Try pushing down gently with your chest while maintaining the same good head position (eyes toward the bottom of the pool).

Work on these first. Don't try to do too much. Once you have got your body position sorted out you can start to fine tune other areas like your low elbow position.

You could try wearing a Speedo, too. Those shorts you are wearing are causing a lot of drag.

March 10th, 2015, 09:40 AM
LOL, old geezer at 50. Didn't you know that 50 is the new 30?

March 10th, 2015, 11:47 AM
You have a smooth and steady stroke; you definitely should consider swimming some races!
Your left arm especially is not catching the water for a good pull. Instead of catching you are pushing down and unfortunately that gives you no forward propulsion. Try getting your elbow up as you do your over water recovery. Once you place your hand in the water keep your elbow up and try to push against the water in a straight back motion, not downward

March 10th, 2015, 11:50 AM
You have a nice steady kick and good rotation. But you are pushing far too much water down before you start to push it back. Start your catch earlier. I recommend looking up some swim drills to improve catch online. Good luck and keep swimming!

March 10th, 2015, 12:43 PM
Congratulations on with your improvement and discipline. I'd like to try to illustrate Bobinator's arm stroke points:

The red (right arm) and blue (left arm) plots what would be the ideal arm paths of catch and propulsion. Try to enter these as fixed points in water, slipping the fingers first, like in a tube, then once in position use the leverage to pull yourself through the water. Once done, the arm will exit the water elbow first.


The feedback where the arm is pushing down and up, this is happening:

This is wasting energy and causing drag by pushing yourself up after arm entry, and pulling everything down before release. Try to refine any propulsive force to push and pull yourself forward.

Hope this is accurate and helps. Good luck

March 10th, 2015, 01:41 PM
Thank you all for the comments thus far....actually I lied, I'm 53. :) I took a couple of lesson right after the holidays and have been good about getting in the water 3 days/week. I always try to rack up 33 laps on my counter thru various combo's of (primarily) free and breast strokes with varying distances and rests between each set. I also tend to get 5 laps or so of my lap total swimming free with a pull buoy.

I'm going to go over each of these comments several more times and really try to digest. Couple of quick comments based on my initial reaction and then in response to some observations made:

- My initial response when I watched my video. A) I thought my arm movement above water was okay, but I did note that there is some disparity between my left and right. Specifically, my right arm (elbow) comes out of the water quite a bit higher than my left (elbow). B) At 47-55 second mark I was a little surprised to see my head that deep in the water. And C) my kick appears (to me) to be all over the place..no nice rhythm and definitely some bending at the knees.

- My thoughts on comments thus far:

"Your head seems to be a little too low...like it's completely underwater." I agree. I'm not sure how best to try to correct this.

"Kick from the butt and try not to let the knee bend." Agree....I need to REALLY work on keeping my legs straighter and kicking from the hip.

Bobinator/Steve: Yes, when my hands enter the water I feel like I'm first pushing down and then back. I will work on trying to keep both elbows up thru arm movement especially upon hand entering water and push water back rather than down (then back).

And I agree I probably also need to lose the baggie swim trunks! ;)

So, it appears I must work:

1) my arm position (high elbow throughout movement) - with practice especially with a pull buoy
2) kick from the hip and not bend leg - kick exercises w/ kickboard so I don't also have to think about arm movement(??)
3) body position - not sure how to address my head being too deep(?)

Open to any/all additional comments.

Again, thank you to those who've commented thus far.

March 10th, 2015, 04:34 PM
Your head is actually not necessarily "too low". The problem instead, is that your right arm extends downwards towards the bottom of the pool. When this happens, your head follows your hand and thus is submerged when you extend your right arm. This causes a "head-bobbing" effect where you are constantly dipping and lifting your head and upper body. You're also crossing over during your hand entry on both sides- place the hand in front of the shoulder. Try to breathe bilaterally, as that will help eliminate some current and potential problems in your stroke. Your kick is actually pretty good. You really don't want to aim for "straight legs" while you are swimming. What you can do is work on kicking more from the hips to use the full power of your legs to help you through the water. Finally, you can work on developing the strength of your pull, specifically the early vertical forearm. Here is a drill you can try to work on this:

Best of luck!

March 10th, 2015, 07:52 PM
Swimspire: Got it! That makes a lot of sense (head bopping) to me especially when I watch the video...appears I'm really driving my right arm down/deep...note to self: elbow up don't cross over. You hit upon my "kryptonite"...as in bilateral breathing! breathing to my right okay, but when I try to do it to the left body parts are flying all over the place! I will definitely try to find some videos on breathing both sides.

March 10th, 2015, 10:51 PM
Drills are extremely important with adult learners

Also, this book has a large section which goes in to great detail on stroke technique. Its value, by far exceeds the 2003 publishing date.

April 10th, 2015, 06:28 PM
VIDEO UPDATE: Been working on my left side breathing and bilateral breathing since my first video just about a month a go. Approx 3x's a week in the pool for 45 mins or so at a whack. As mentioned, I'm a bit of a geezer (just turned 54 a week ago). The first 6-7 seconds of video is just breathing on left side...slowly coming along...when I started on this side a month ago I couldn't go but 2-4 strokes without drinking half the pool/gagging/arms flailing, etc.. The remainder of the video is different angles of bilateral breathing. Coming along....but freestyle endurance still sucks (only about 200 yards at a time before getting winded). I'm 6"1" and right at 200lbs, and workout/lift several times a week in addition to swimming so not like I'm a couch potato..I wish my endurance was improving.....but its really not.

Anyway, please feel free to be super blunt and critique this new vid. I look forward to the comments!


April 10th, 2015, 08:28 PM
This video came to mind while watching your video - the thing I notice most is your lead arm dropping too soon. It does look like you've made some improvements since your first video :)


April 10th, 2015, 10:32 PM
The good: your body and head position are fairly decent, and your kick is not getting in the way of your body line.

As others have mentioned, your biggest weakness is your arm pull. You really need to do drills that help you internalize the proper high elbow catch position.

I HIGHLY recommend the book Swim Speed Secrets. It focuses entirely creating a proper freestyle arm pull. It has a ton of wonderful analogies, illustrations, and drills that will help you develop proper pull form:


I came back to swimming after a 6 years away from the sport (ages 18-24) and thankfully read this book . After 3 months of minimal training and technique work I crushed my best times from age 18. Its hard to understate how important the arm pull is for freestyle propulsion, and I feel this book is the best resource available.

April 11th, 2015, 08:05 PM
You have definitely made progress! The head bobbing had been eliminated and it's great to see that you've become more proficient with the bilateral breathing.

I would suggest focusing more on the single arm drill as opposed to the catchup drill. Single arm will allow you to focus on the early vertical forearm, the timing of the breath and the finish. One of the problems with catch up drill is that the "catch up" move can become a habit and transfer over to your fullstroke, which is not ideal.

One other thing to work on is your tendency to cross over. Make sure your hand is placed in front of the shoulder as opposed to the nose. You can try using a snorkel to be able to locate and correct your hand placement.

Good job and good luck!

April 11th, 2015, 09:28 PM
Thanks so much for the comments.....I did download the Swim Speed Secrets book on my kindle today to try to gain some additional insight.

FWIW, I really don't care about speed. At my age (54) I'm more interested in efficiency and building my endurance.
I'm actually more interested in being just all around more comfortable in the (open) water to include being able to swim half a mile or more in open water (all strokes) as I've really gotten into paddle board surfing and fear being separated from my board (broken leash) or getting caught in a rip and having to navigate back to the beach....

April 12th, 2015, 02:41 PM
Watch from view at 2:00