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Thread: Hybrid Freestyle Drills

  1. #1
    Participating Member Jeff Gross's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    Carlsbad, CA

    Hybrid Freestyle Drills

    Watching videos by Mike Bottom and Gary Hall Sr, hybrid freestyle is described as the technique used by Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Jason Lezak, and others. It consists of a diving streamlined extension after inhaling, and a sprint-style pull with the other arm while exhaling. It is called loping or hybrid because it is hip driven after inhaling, and shoulder driven while exhaling. Hybrid freestyle seems to be for swimmers breathing on one side only.

    I am looking for drills to help swimmers experiment with this style, and would like your help. Here is what I have come up with myself:

    • One-sided catchup Free: Catchup freestyle on the arm that you breathe to, and regular non-catchup on the other side. Use the mantra as you start each pull: Catchup/Go/Catchup/Go
    • One-sided broken recovery: While inhaling, pause the recovering arm briefly as it passes the face.
    • Exhale overkick: On the pull that occurs while exhaling, emphasize 3 strong kicks and a strong pull that will take full advantage of the head-down streamline.

    Mike Bottom
    The Three Styles of Freestyle swimming with Mike Bottom -

    Gary Hall Sr
    Picking the Right Swimming Technique - Freestyle -

  2. #2
    Very Active Member Sojerz's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
    Woodbury, New Jersey, United States
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    Re: Hybrid Freestyle Drills

    I noticed the "eccentricity" in the hybrid stroke of elite swimmers a few years back from watching videos and tried to emulate it. Great to hear it explained in the videos you posted.

    One thing that occurred to me is that any loss in velocity (momentum) is very costly in energy and power needed to regain velocity during the cycle. SO one can't lose momentum and the kick needs to be really really strong (Phelps's has huge feet and a monster kick). I also think the body needs to be very streamlined and on top of the water to avoid the loss of velocity.

    I'm a mere (slow) mortal (and an old one at that), so I'm not sure this works for me. Although I enjoy it and did not find it hard to pick it up as a modified stroke rhythm and have tried it racing on the way out in a 100 and 200.

    I like the drills you suggested above, but also think watching slo-mo videos of phelps and others helped me to visualize the eccentricity and then just try it out and work on it swimming at cruise speed. I didn't understand the catch difference as Gary Hall explains until watching the video.

    Maybe not a good idea for beginners or someone not fairly comfortable with their stroke cycle and able to modify it.

    Thanks for posting and asking the question.
    Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece. Some guys come home from work and wash up and go racin’ in the street. (Bruce Springsteen, 1978)

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