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Thread: freestyle arm position and catch

  1. #1
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    freestyle arm position and catch

    Two questions:

    When maintaining a high elbow at catch, and when I've been dropping my elbow previously, am I right to assume that feeling the muscle opposite the bicep (back of upper arm) working more at catch and pull is a sign the catch position is better?

    Also, I've seen many references to "reaching over a barrel" in freestyle. Does this describe the arm above the water, under the water, or both?

    Thanks

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    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
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    Re: freestyle arm position and catch

    Yes, your triceps will definitely feel it more when you're pulling correctly. That, to me, means you're doing it right.

    And the "over the barrel" cue generally refers to under the water, not the recovery.
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: freestyle arm position and catch

    High elbow is how most of us learned and practice many times with the coach working on it with us BJUT now I seed Olympic & National swimmers "windmilling" with straight arms!!?? What gives them the extra power to do this over us mere mortals?
    Last edited by orca1946; October 3rd, 2019 at 07:45 PM.

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    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: freestyle arm position and catch

    Windmilling is not as efficient as high elbow, but it does poentially get the hand into the catch faster and also perhaps lead to a faster turn over. It can threfore be faster, but at the expense of needing more power generation, which is not sustainable for long. Big, strong elites can do it for a 50, some exceptional athletes for a 100.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
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    Re: freestyle arm position and catch

    Thank you for the help, and I appreciate the insight into the windmill also. My 54-year-old shoulders won't be attempting that.

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: freestyle arm position and catch

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark View Post
    Windmilling is not as efficient as high elbow, but it does poentially get the hand into the catch faster and also perhaps lead to a faster turn over. It can threfore be faster, but at the expense of needing more power generation, which is not sustainable for long. Big, strong elites can do it for a 50, some exceptional athletes for a 100.
    And Janet Evans could do it for a 1500...

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    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: freestyle arm position and catch

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    And Janet Evans could do it for a 1500...
    Yes she could, which is amazing to me.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: freestyle arm position and catch

    Evans had a terrible stroke over the water BUT where it counts under she was terrific!

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    Very Active Member Sojerz's Avatar
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    Re: freestyle arm position and catch

    Think that your finger tips as they enter the water are going around and sliding down the far side of barrel (or a big ball) and then when your arm is round it, you're throwing the barrel back as you pull. Your shoulder has to rotate for the hand and arm to go over the barrel and your elbow stay high.

    I was going to mention Janet Evans straight arm stroke too; she is very much an exception to the rule.

    There are good explanations of stroke techniques on Gary Hall's Race Club website I think in the Aqua Notes section. At one point in time there was an article describing and contrasting the straight arm, bent arm, and hybrid stroke techniques. You can use both depending on the situation.
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    Re: freestyle arm position and catch

    Thanks for these added posts. Shout-out also to Swimmer magazine article in current issue, which prompted my question when it mentioned trying to keep your elbow near surface during catch.

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