The freestyle stroke, also known as front crawl, is the fastest and most efficient of the competitive swimming strokes. That's why it is always used in the freestyle event of swimming competitions and is also often the preferred stroke of experienced swimmers and triathletes.
Freestyle is the fastest swim stroke.
To swim freestyle, you assume a prone position in the water.
Your arms execute alternating movements. One arm moves backwards in the water from an overhead position towards the hip and provides propulsion. The other arm recovers above water from the hip towards the overhead position. Afterwards your arms exchange their roles.
Your legs do the flutter kick, which means they are extended and kick downwards and upwards in the water with pointed toes. This is a simple and efficient kicking technique.
Here's nice a video that shows a freestyle swimmer in action:
We will now have an overview of the freestyle swimming technique. Let's imagine that you have just pushed off the wall in a streamlined prone position:
Now you start the swim stroke's cycle:
The following articles explain the swimming technique of the freestyle stroke in more detail:
Head and Body Positions: This article explains how to position your head and your body while swimming freestyle so as to create the least amount of drag. It also explains how to roll your body on your sides to inhale more easily and to improve propulsion.
Arm Stroke and Hand Movements: This article explains the different phases of the front crawl arm stroke in detail: downsweep, catch, insweep, upsweep, release, recovery, entry and extension forward. The synchronization between arms and legs is also covered.
The Flutter Kick: This article covers the flutter kick as it is used in freestyle swim stroke. The kicking technique is explained, kicking rhythms are discussed and some additional tips are given.
Breathing Technique: This article explains how to breathe in the front crawl stroke. It explains during which phases of the stroke you should inhale and exhale, which breathing patterns are most commonly used. The article also gives several tips for proper breathing technique.
Learning freestyle is difficult for several reasons. Your face is submerged for the most part of the stroke cycle and you must roll on your side to breathe. Your arms and your legs execute alternating movements. That's why it takes practice to correctly and simultaneously execute all these different aspects of the stroke.
However, learning freestyle is much easier if you use our step by step approach based on a sequence of progressive swimming drills. These drills let you learn the freestyle stroke in several steps:
So discover our swimming drills in the learn how to swim freestyle section!
The next set of articles allow you to fine-tune your technique once you have become a proficient freestyle swimmer:
Freestyle Swimming Mistakes - Putting on the Brakes: Describes a common mistake intermediate swimmers of the freestyle stroke do called "Putting on the Brakes". This means that you push water forward during the underwater phase at the end of the arm recovery, hence the name.
Freestyle Swimming Mistakes - Overreaching: Explains why overreaching during the arm recovery in the freestyle stroke is considered bad swimming technique. Tips on how to correct this mistake are given.
Freestyle Swimming Mistakes - Wide Arm Recovery: A wide arm recovery wastes energy, creates drag and can put strain on your shoulders. This article discusses why this is the case and provides means to correct this swimming mistake.
Freestyle Stroke - A Few Simple Tips: Our reader Zach explains a few simple tips to improve your freestyle stroke.
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