Over Switch is the last one in our sequence of front crawl swimming drills. It lets you practice an early hand entry during the arm recovery. This is to avoid the common tendency of overreaching during the recovery which for several reasons increases drag and can also lead to swimmer’s shoulder.

Drill Instructions

  • Start the recovery forward with your top arm, leading with the elbow, as you practised in Zipper Switch. Your recovering hand should hover closely above the water surface.
  • As your hand passes your head, swipe your thumb (or the inner side of your hand) across the side of your head at the temple.
  • Enter the water in front of your head right after the swipe and extend your arm forward under water until it is fully extended.
  • Just as your recovering arm enters the water, your other arm becomes active and starts to sweep backward in the water.
  • Roll your body on the side of your recovering arm as it extends forward. Also roll your head up until you are in Hand-Lead Side Balance (Sweet Spot) on the other side at the end of the drill cycle.
  • Take a few moments to catch your breath, then start the same drill cycle back towards the other side and so on.

Swimming Drill Tips

  • If you have trouble assessing how high your recovering hand hovers above water, you can try to brush the water surface with the tip of your index and ring fingers. This will gives you a cue about your hand position and allow you to adjust the height of your hand above the water.
  • Once you are proficient with the drill, practice double and triple Over Switches like you did in the Under and Zipper Switch drills. This means you only return to Hand-Lead Side balance with your head rolled up after several switches.

Finally Swimming Front Crawl

To transition into swimming the full stroke, do multiple Over Switches with 4, 5, 6 or more switches to get used to the rhythm of the arm stroke and body roll. Leave out the thumb swipe, and once in a while fit in a quick breath.

To inhale, don’t roll back as far as in the Hand-Lead Side Balance position, but roll only as far as needed for your mouth to clear the water. Then start to exhale as soon as your head rolls downward and exhale continously until your head rolls upward to catch the next breath.

Progressively reduce the number of switches between each pause until you inhale once for every 3rd arm stroke. At that moment, you are in fact swimming front crawl and using bilateral breathing.

Freestyle Swimming Video

Here’s how swimming a relaxed front crawl looks like:


Congratulations! You are now able to swim the freestyle stroke in a relaxed manner. This is a great achievement!

Don’t stop to practice these swimming drills however as they are still useful. For example, doing a few drills at the start of a each swim session awakes your senses and will make your session more enjoyable. And rehearsing the drills regularly will imprint correct swimming habits more deeply.

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