Front crawl
Training > Swim

Front crawl: How to get more out of each stroke

Super streamline your swim stroke this winter for faster swim times next season

The season end and off season is the perfect time to review your stroke, set new technical/performance goals, ease training loads and strip things back to the key fundamentals that will really make a difference.

Body position and streamlining are key to stroke efficiency. The mechanics of great swimming require you to move your body through the narrowest cylinder of water while creating minimum drag/resistance. Poor streamlining, being tense or fighting the water will increase resistance, meaning you swim with the ‘hand brake’
on! The ‘super hero’ kick and streamlining drills in this session help you take the brakes off and increase your efficiency.

A good ‘catch’ is another crucial element to master an efficient stroke. It’s the first phase when you need to gather water behind your whole arm and build pressure before generating maximum propulsion through the pull/push phases. The catch drills here will make you more aware of your catch and how to improve propulsion. 

3 OF RICHARD'S TOP TIPS  

SUPER HEROES 

Developing super streamlining through side-kick drills – e.g. 6 1 6 & 6 3 6 – helps to optimise body position and efficiency. Start with fins on then remove them. 

LIGNMENT DRILLS 

Performing T-drill or ‘Broken Arrow’ drills help to focus on the alignment of shoulders, hips and ankles through the rotation of the stroke, as well as switching on your core.

FEEL THE CATCH 

Transition sculling drills, fists-only and false/double-catch drills all help to improve the catch and therefore create more propulsion from each stroke

THE SWIM SESSION

All reps at controlled aerobic effort + 15secs rest

WARM-UP 

8 x 50m as push and glide, super streamline into full stroke 

DRILL SET 1 

(wearing swim fins)

4 x 25m side kick ‘ride the wave*’ 

100m swim

4 x 50m as: 25m T 6 1 6 kick drill*; 25m swim

100m swim

4 x 50m as: 25m 6 3 6 kick drill; 25m swim

100m swim

DRILL SET 2 

(wearing fins) 

4 x 25m ‘false catch*’ drill

100m swim

4 x 50m as: 25m ‘double catch*’ drill; 25m swim

100m swim

4 x 50m as: 25m ‘touch your hip, shoulder, head’; 25m swim

100m swim

CONTRAST SET

(catch)

8 x 25m as: 5m transition scull into 20m build swim

8 x 50m as: 6 strokes fists only; 6 strokes swim

*Ride the wave: Side-kick drill, push extended arm down to 45° and release. 

T 6 1 6 kick drill: Perform 6 1 6 kick drill with front arm extended and other arm straight up at right angles.

False/double-catch drills: Side kick, lead arm extended, pull into catch and release/As before, but on second catch pull through stroke to other side.

Adapt for beginners

Reduce distances to 10m drill into 15m swims and ask a coach to observe and correct your drills, collecting some before and after video footage and stroke counts

*Ride the wave: Side-kick drill, push extended arm down to 45° and release. 

T 6 1 6 kick drill: Perform 6 1 6 kick drill with front arm extended and other arm straight up at right angles.

False/double-catch drills: Side kick, lead arm extended, pull into catch and release/As before, but on second catch pull through stroke to other side.


 
 

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