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Thread: Freestyle Stroke

  1. #1
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    South Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    Freestyle Stroke

    Hello, I really suck and today at practice i changed my freestyle stroke with amazing results for me. I used to always stroke the water thumb first with a slight downward-outsweep and then an inward sweep all the way through to the hip with a decent body roll. I have never gotten anywhere swimming this way and my PR 500yard freestyle is a lousy 6:30. Yesterday some guy who used to be on our swim team about 8 years ago came in to swim with us and completely dominated us. His stroke looked sloppy to me but he would be dogging it behind us and EASILY keeping up as we busted out 200yard free repeats(this guy is very good on the record-board for the 200 yard free relay and he swam a 22/48 in 50/100 free).

    So today I decided to change my stroke and basically what I do is enter the water thumb first almost straight in front of my head and then I continue the stroke pulling straight through my midline a ways until the finish where my arm rotates outward to my hip. This technique made me swim MUCH faster. We were doing a 1000,900,800, free all the way down to 100 and I was lapping many people in my lane. I almost managed to lap my teammate who I race against in the 500yard free and he swims about a 6:19. Now I don't know why this works because I felt like my stroke technique was more natural before but anyhow I am a very skinny guy(5,9' 135 lbs) and this is more efficient for me. Is there anything wrong with this and what should I do to improve my freestyle technique?
    Last edited by SM-Rocket89; December 27th, 2006 at 04:54 PM. Reason: offensive?

  2. #2
    Active Member dpflyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Madison, WI

    Re: Freestyle Stroke

    Chris - Are you related to Tom & Monica? I'm sorry I haven't replied. If you ever having a swimming question and need some advice feel free to e-mail me at or contact Joel Rollings at . Joel coaches at UW-Whitewater and I coach a couple of Masters groups in Madison.

    Personally I have a bias against "thumb-first entry" on freestyle. I feel it contributes to "dropped elbow syndrome" which can incur shoulder injury or pain. The way I teach freestyle is to have (1) the hand in line, on the same plane as the wrist; (2) enter the water flat-handed or little finger slightly lower than the thumb, at a 30-degree angle to the water; (3) this angle of attack helps to keep the "elbow above the hand" which is critical for good catch of the water and avoidance of "dropped elbow". When pulling you want to point the fingers to the bottom of the pool and sweep towards your hip. But, exit early so you can recover to the front quickly. The power of the stroke is in front of the shoulders. If you have the opportunity to watch videos of any swimming stars today, you probably won't see the thumb-first entry on them.

    Good luck! See you at Badger State Games June 24th!


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