How to Freestyle Swim

by Pool Builders on 08-14-2011 in Articles

Freestyle is a fantastic stroke to learn and if you are currently swimming breaststroke you will be amazed how much smoother, flowing and faster freestyle is. Basically it's like breaking into a run and is a great feeling.

So why doesn't everybody swim freestyle? Personally I believe it is because freestyle looks a technically challenging stroke to master, one that seems to require a high level of fitness and with it the necessity to breath and exhale with your face in the water. The good news though is that these are challenges that can be overcome and once you have mastered some basic techniques you will never look back and your swimming and what you get out of it will move to a completely new level.

There are certain things that you can do when learning how to freestyle swim. Here are a few that I have listed:

  • Get some help: Do you have a friend, relative or swim 'buddy' who will spare you the time to look and help you with your stroke or even better be in the water with you to reinforce what you should be doing. Even better if they could help to hold you in specific positions whilst you get a feel for them.
  • Get a feel for the water: Initially you don't even have to swim or even float. Just get a feeling for how your body moves and feels in the water. Practice your arm movements and breathing patterns with you feet on the pool bottom whilst crouching in the shallow end. Use your hands liked paddles, pushing against the water and feeling the pressure on your palms.There is no rush, do this for a long as you need until you feel comfortable and always try to start your swimming session with a few minutes of this.
  • Just put your face in the water and blow: With freestyle breathing is the most challenging aspect of the stroke. Also, you will need to exhale freely whilst your face is in the water and to be able to inhale only as your head turns to the side. So to start just stand in the shallow end, put your face in the water and blow a nice stream of bubbles by humming through your mouth or your nose. Just keep working on this skill and eventually allow yourself to float or sink into the water whilst doing it. Build up your confidence in the water and with it your breathing and you will be well on your way.
  • Do some drills: To go straight to a complete freestyle stroke will probably only lead to confusion and probably failure. Try to break the stroke down into its component parts of say kick, stroke, arm recovery, body position and breathing. The key is to practice the drills individually until you get a feel for them and what you are trying to achieve. These will then become part of your overall stroke that you do not have to concentrate on specifically and skills that you will further enhance as you improve.
Use some equipment: Do not be scared to use equipment and certainly do not see it as cheating. Fins (small and flexible swimming flippers) are great for giving you propulsion as you practice your arm drills whilst floats are great for getting a feel for the correct body position as you practice your breathing and arm stroke/recovery. These are powerful tools that can only help in learning how to freestyle swim

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