The Head-Lead Nose Up / Nose Down front crawl swimming drill lets you practice dynamic balance, which means that you must maintain horizontal balance in the water while rolling between different positions, in this case with your head turned upward and then with your head turned downward.

This is different from previous drills where you only practiced static balance, always keeping the same position. Dynamic balance is an important front crawl skill to possess because it allows you to stay balanced even when you need to roll on the side to breathe.


Start to flutter kick on the side as explained in the previous drill, Head-Lead Side Balance:

  • Float in the water lying on the side, your body at an 45° angle from the water surface.
  • Keep your arms at the your sides.
  • Your shoulder and part of your thigh should clear the water on your top side.
  • Your head is in line with the trunk, your face is turned upward.
  • Apply downward pressure on your head and bottom shoulder so that your hips and legs buoy up.
  • Use a supple flutter kick for propulsion.

When you feel balanced in this position, do the following:

  • Roll your head downward so that you are looking at the bottom of the pool.
  • Let your body roll too until it is at an 90° angle from the water surface.
  • Maintain the downward pressure on your head (but now with the face turned downward) and bottom shoulder to keep your legs and hips up.
  • Flutter kick for a while in this position and try to maintain balance.
  • Simply roll upward to the initial position again when you need to breathe.
  • Roll between the upward and downward position for several lengths, alternating sides with each length.

Some Tips

  • Don’t hold your breath in the face down position but slowly exhale through your nose and mouth instead.
  • You can prevent water from getting into your nose with a nose clip.
  • Consider the use of swimming fins if your flutter kick isn’t very propulsive.

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