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Thread: Can you be a "real" swimmer without freestyle?

  1. #1
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    Can you be a "real" swimmer without freestyle?

    I'm an ex-runner, turned swimmer. I swim approximately 5 days a week, 3600 yards each day, of drills, free, fly, breast and back. Freestyle still eludes me, in that I feel like a fish out of water - no balance, uneven pulls, dropped elbows, etc, no sick. I've had so many lessons, done all the drills, watched tons of videos, yet free is in my head -- I just don't swim it well. Other strokes are great. Question is this -- whenever I've gone to masters swim sessions, all they seem to focus on is freestyle. What about those swimmers who excel in other strokes? Is freestyle the onl stroke that is considered "real" swimming? Will I ever be a real swimmer with free being my worst stroke?

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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Can you be a "real" swimmer without freestyle?

    What distances do you prefer and what style of kick? Not that I can help, just curious. Thanks

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    Very Active Member ekw's Avatar
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    Re: Can you be a "real" swimmer without freestyle?

    You can do all four strokes and you swim 5 days a week. You're a "real" swimmer in my book. Now that you've gotten that worry out of your head, let's get your freestyle mental block out of there too. Can you have someone video you swimming freestyle and post it here? People on the forums are really great about offering advice and feedback.
    "Librarians are hiding something." - Stephen Colbert

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Can you be a "real" swimmer without freestyle?

    With what you swim --- you do more than "real" swimmers that go to team practice1 Good for you. We all have a weak stroke, so yours is free, mine is breaststroke.

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    Re: Can you be a "real" swimmer without freestyle?

    I think most practices focus on freestyle because that is the way MOST people can do the most endurance/aerobic swimming. If that's not the case for you. I know I couldn't/wouldn't do 3600 yard practices daily of stroke, but I could with freestyle. It's not that freestyle is the only real stroke, just the one that MOST people would use to get in their yardage. If that's not the case for you, who cares!? You're definitely a real swimmer in my book. And like orca said, everyone has a weak stroke, and mine is also breaststroke. I recall a girl I swam with in high school who couldn't move forward with freestyle kick. She was much, much better at breaststroke.

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    Re: Can you be a "real" swimmer without freestyle?

    Quote Originally Posted by ekw View Post
    You can do all four strokes and you swim 5 days a week. You're a "real" swimmer in my book. Now that you've gotten that worry out of your head, let's get your freestyle mental block out of there too. Can you have someone video you swimming freestyle and post it here? People on the forums are really great about offering advice and feedback.
    I have a video from a year ago, and am embarrassed to even post it, it's so awful. I have improved since that video - I keep my head level with my spine (looking almost down at the bottom line), and I think my rotation is a little better. I've been doing a lot of single arm drills to work on the lazy pull and dropped elbow, but still my stroke is really not balanced at all and very slow (:30 @ 25 yd.) I will see if I can post it - not sure how to do that.

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    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Can you be a "real" swimmer without freestyle?

    You don't have a problem with freestyle.You may have a problem with your front crawl.Front crawl is what most people swim in a freestyle event,but freestyle is basically any stroke.Swim what you swim best and call it freestyle if you like,because it is.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

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    Paint test area ahead Michael Heather's Avatar
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    Re: Can you be a "real" swimmer without freestyle?

    Sounds like you are obsessing over it unnecessarily. Drills are good to refine the stroke but only after you are comfortable doing it. Relax when you swim Free (or front crawl) and enjoy the experience. The other three strokes all have much more technical demands to them. If you are satisfied with them, perhaps it is only that you are expecting something that you should not at this time.

    Freestyle doesn't really have a balance feel to many because they only breathe on one side. That is OK, but if you really need to feel balanced, try working on that for a while. It forces you to do everything the same on both sides.

    Don't worry about speed at all. If you want to race, speed will come. If you want to learn, speed is not necessary.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine, not those of U.S. Masters Swimming. But maybe they should be.

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    Re: Can you be a "real" swimmer without freestyle?

    Thanks everyone. I feel somewhat better. still trying to figure out how to bring a video from photobucket over here.

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    Re: Can you be a "real" swimmer without freestyle?

    I am, by nature, a breaststroker, but I do focus a lot of my energy on freestyling. That being said, I also spend a lot of time repeating in my head "reach, rotation, relaxation" and "roll the tree". proper form does not come naturally to me, so I am constantly re-enforcing it during my swims. I know that doesn't help your problem, but at least you know you are not alone ;-)

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    Very Active Member flystorms's Avatar
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    Re: Can you be a "real" swimmer without freestyle?

    You know, a friend is training for his first tri and asked me to help him with the swim. He thought he was flailing all over the place in his head so I expected the worst. When I saw him, he actually had a pretty good stroke and all we really had to do was get him to figure out breathing technique. That said, maybe you think you're worse than you actually are?

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