Training > Swim

15 key front crawl swim drills: body position

The front crawl drills here are designed to improve the four key elements of a good swim technique; body position, leg mechanics, arm mechanics and your breathing and timing.

Front crawl body position drills

The key thing to remember about body position is to keep as flat as possible. The more horizontal you are, the easier it is to move through the water. Here’s how you can achieve this:

Keep your hairline level with the water’s surface.

Look forward and down to the catch phase.

Keep your head steady throughout the stroke.

Keep your hips just below the surface.

Imagine an axle running down the length of your body around which you roll to breathe.

Drill 8: Kick on side

This drill improves your core strength and control. (Fins can be worn.)

Lie on your left side in the water with your left arm extended.

Place your right arm by your side (the top of it should remain dry).

Flutter kick to move you through the water.

Roll to breathe but keep your head in a neutral position when not breathing.

Swap sides to work both sides of your body.

Drill 9: Stomach suck

This drill helps you get a feel for swimming with your hips high in the water.

Swim front crawl but suck your stomach in during the stroke.

Sucking your stomach in lifts your hips closer to the surface and allows you to see what it’s like to swim more horizontally.

Experiment with your head in different positions – if your head is too high, your legs will sink.

Drill 10: Hip rotation

This drill encourages good rotation.

Place your arms by your side and kick gently while keeping your head in the neutral position.

Gently rotate so your whole body faces to the side and your shoulders are almost vertical. (Keep your head facing down, your body straight and your arms by your side.)

Then slowly rotate back but continue round to the other side.

Breathe when on your side by rotating your head so your face is out of the water.

Drill 11: Catch-up stroke

This improves stroke length and encourages you to stay long and streamlined.

Start swimming front crawl with your left arm extended ahead of you.

Perform one stroke with your right arm and allow it to touch your left hand, or ‘catch up with it’, before it moves forward to enter the water.

Only begin stroking with your left arm once your right arm has touched it, or ‘caught up’ with it.

Then do the same but with your right arm extended and waiting to be ‘caught’ by your left before beginning its next stroke.

Drill 12: Catch-up with float

This increases the length of your stroke and encourages a smooth hand entry by placing it onto the board rather than slapping it into the water. A good entry is a clean one that produces little splash and no bubbles.

Hold a float straight out in front of you and grip it at its edges.

Begin by pulling with your right arm through the water and complete a stroke by returning it to hold the edge of the float again.

Do the same. Take a stroke with your left hand and continue in this fashion.

Remember to rotate from your hips.

Continue reading our guide to key swim drills (breathing 4/4)


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