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Thread: Freestyle pull question

  1. #1
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    Freestyle pull question

    Hello, it's been a while since I've been here. Hoping someone can help me with something conceptually. I feel like I've got a decent catch position but I struggle a bit with the pull. I'm trying to understand whether it should feel like I'm pulling water or pushing water back once I get past the catch and start rotating. The difference between the two for me can be as subtle as a the pitch of my hand or how far forward my elbow is. I'm hoping someone can kind of explain to me what it should fee like. I often see video of a sudden scull right after the catch in elite swimmers, and I'm guessing it has to do with some shift between pulling and pushing. For example, when I look at the freeze frames before, it's obvious that in the 3rd photo she is pushing back and in the first photo she is anchoring. Is she pushing backward in the 2nd photo?

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  2. #2
    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle pull question

    I'd rather think of the pull as not pulling but anchoring the arm with high elbow, fingertips down and moving the body past the anchor with minimal drag. If you focus on pulling the arm your attention is in the wrong place, the focus should be on moving the body past the anchor.
    As far as the pull, anchor first and then increase force gradually and apply the maximum force when the hand reaches the shoulder line through the finish.

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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle pull question

    When the lower arm is forward, I'm pulling. When passed the shoulders, I'm pushing. Just after the arm releases, the other arm is already set up and starts pulling.

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    Re: Freestyle pull question

    Quote Originally Posted by rtodd View Post
    I'd rather think of the pull as not pulling but anchoring the arm with high elbow, fingertips down and moving the body past the anchor with minimal drag. If you focus on pulling the arm your attention is in the wrong place, the focus should be on moving the body past the anchor.
    As far as the pull, anchor first and then increase force gradually and apply the maximum force when the hand reaches the shoulder line through the finish.
    Quote Originally Posted by __steve__ View Post
    When the lower arm is forward, I'm pulling. When passed the shoulders, I'm pushing. Just after the arm releases, the other arm is already set up and starts pulling.
    Thanks for the information. I do try to keep the fingertips down but here is what I have trouble conceptualizing There are certain sculls of the hand it seems that might help me maintain my grip on the water and move past that anchor. Here are more still shots of Sandeno, and what I am having trouble understanding is what happens from photo 1 to photo 2. The fingertips are no longer facing down in photo 2, but she's in more of a thumb up position (which my coach has been trying to get me to do, but I can't seem to make that transition well. It seems to me that as one rotates after anchoring the hand, the position of the elbow and forearm need to change. This is my ongoing conceptual struggle, how to do this effectively. Is there perhaps a little trick someone can advise, something akin to reaching over the barrel with the catch?
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    Last edited by taruky; December 10th, 2014 at 04:15 PM.

  5. #5
    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle pull question

    Her hand looks like it no longer points down because if it was, with shoulder rotation it would be pulling way out to her left. Interesting how upper arm is still the same radial angle. One thing certain is this athlete has exceptional flexibility. Regarding a trick, I don't know, I'm in same boat here but maybe the hand should follow the "I" relative to position in water (not to body). The book, Swimming Fastest go over this exhaustively in detail, showing illustrated hand/forearm paths of Olympic swims relative to body, and place in water.
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    Last edited by __steve__; December 10th, 2014 at 05:43 PM.

  6. #6
    Very Active Member Swimspire's Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle pull question

    RTodd's description is spot on, although you really need to have the right position and angle in the water, in addition to the proper amount of strength, in order to execute this pull effectively. I like to use the Vasa Swim Ergometer to both practice the proper pull and strengthen the muscles needed for it. I've been writing a weekly blog on my use of the Vasa Erg, if you're curious to find out more: http://vasatrainer.com/blog/

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    Re: Freestyle pull question

    Quote Originally Posted by Swimspire View Post
    RTodd's description is spot on, although you really need to have the right position and angle in the water, in addition to the proper amount of strength, in order to execute this pull effectively. I like to use the Vasa Swim Ergometer to both practice the proper pull and strengthen the muscles needed for it. I've been writing a weekly blog on my use of the Vasa Erg, if you're curious to find out more: http://vasatrainer.com/blog/
    I would love to have a vasa ergometer, maybe one day. One question I have about it is doesn't the pull pattern change some with rotation?

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    Very Active Member Swimspire's Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle pull question

    Quote Originally Posted by taruky View Post
    I would love to have a vasa ergometer, maybe one day. One question I have about it is doesn't the pull pattern change some with rotation?
    There could be a difference in the pull pattern between your workouts on the Erg and those that you do in the pool if you're not careful about maintaining proper form on the Erg. When I first started using the Ergometer, my stroke started to become flatter in the pool until I made adjustments to my posture while using the swim bench. Now, I focus on driving my opposing hip into the bench, extending my arm fully at the front and finishing completely during the stroke cycle on my Erg workouts. This has allowed me to maintain my stroke and pull pattern in the water. You can even put a rolled up towel underneath of you on the bench for more of a body roll, although in my case this is not necessary.

    Hope this helps!

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