View Full Version : Freestyle Hand Entry Position

January 19th, 2003, 01:40 PM
Is there any consensus on the correct postion of the hand at freestyle entry?

On the one hand I have read that the hand should be angled slightly palm-inward toward the body at entry (third or fourth finger entering the water first), but have also seen the reverse suggested (palm-outward, thumb entering the water first).

Palm-inward feels more natural to me and seems to put less strain on the shoulder, but I can see the advantage of palm outward in terms of preparing for the catch phase and keeping a high elbow.

Damage Inc
January 21st, 2003, 11:44 AM
After reading your post, I actually tought about this in my workout this AM. My hand enters the water with the thumb and index finger first. Is this correct?It is for me. Every persons stroke is a little different.

Kevin in MD
January 21st, 2003, 02:10 PM
The current thinking seems to be that the thumb down entry puts you at high risk for impingement.

Thisis of course moderated by the degree to which you do it.

On the other hand the catch does seem to be well initiated by an initial movement to the outside.

jim thornton
January 21st, 2003, 05:39 PM
I watched Jim Clemmons swim distance freestyle at Nationals in Cleveland, and if memory serves, his hands went into the water in a way that reminds you of twin hoes tilling a field--almost at right angles to his wrists. He told me this helps him anchor his catch. He's a pretty strong guy; to me, it looked painful. But he's the same fellow who has done lifetime bests (by far) post 50.

Jim, if you are out there, can you weigh in on this topic?

For what it's worth, I personally put my hands in more or less flat, perhaps a slight bit of pinkies first, but not exaggerated one way or the other. This, like many questions about swimming, is something I hadn't thought much about. For instance, what position do you have your tongue when doing flip turns? I have no idea but will check this out tomorrow.

January 21st, 2003, 06:07 PM
Hey Jim,

For the tongue position, I go for the Michael Jordan imitation. Hand entry is slightly thumb down (hand not quite flat, thumb and index finger entering first) this hand position might be influenced if you have played water polo.


Phil M.
January 22nd, 2003, 08:11 AM
I like to enter with the thumb and index finger first. I see this as serving two purposes. Firstly, the hand begins to grab and move water as it moves to the catch position. Secondly, as the hand rolls to the catch position this rolling action releases any air bubbles that are along for the ride.

January 23rd, 2003, 02:01 PM
Thanks for the responses. Since I've had shoulder pain (tendonitis) in the past, I'm always looking for swimming technique alterations, no matter how minor, to prevent this injury from recurring.

As Kevin noted above, my understanding is that a slightly palm-in entry causes less shoulder impingement and might be preferable for those prone to "swimmer's shoulder."