Presented by Laura Wolff-Demaline, Camp Director
Nike Swim Camp at Baldwin Wallace University
Nike Swim Camp Tip: Freestyle Swimming – 10 Tips to Improve your Technique
The following information was found on the Enjoy Swimming website. Tips like this and a whole lot more will be covered at the Nike Swim Camp at Baldwin Wallace University this summer!
Having a good freestyle swimming technique is essential for an effective stroke. Being effective means either being relaxed while swimming at slow to moderate speed or swimming fast without being exhausted too quickly. The swimming tips in this article will help you become a more effective freestyle swimmer.
- Keep your head in line with your trunk and look straight down toward the bottom of the pool. Don’t look forward because otherwise you will have the tendency to lift your head, which will in turn cause your hips and legs to drop and you will have to kick harder to keep them up.
- Learn how to press your buoy, which has the benefit of keeping your hips and legs up without much effort. This freestyle swimming technique requires you to apply downward pressure on your head and chest. As your lungs are filled with air and very buoyant, pressing down your upper body causes the lower body to rise up through a lever effect. You then don’t need to kick that hard anymore.
- Don’t lift your head just before breathing. This common error also causes your hips and legs to drop. Rather roll on your side and let your head roll a little bit further until your mouth clears the water. It should feel like your head was resting sideways on a pillow made of water.
- Try to swim more on your sides rather than flat on your stomach and chest. Roll from side to side with each arm stroke. This allows you to engage the larger back muscles in addition to the shoulder muscles and improves your propulsion.
- To obtain an effective freestyle swimming technique you need to exhale continuously in the water while your face is submerged. There simply isn’t enough time to both inhale and exhale on the side during a breathing arm recovery. This also lets you relax more in the water.
- Learn how to swim with a so-called high elbow. This freestyle swimming technique consists in flexing your arm and keeping your elbow high in the water during the under water arm pull so that your forearm is facing backward rather than downward for as long as possible, which improves propulsion.
- While recovering your arm forward don’t extend it completely above water before letting it drop in the water because it increases drag and can also lead to swimmer’s shoulder over time. It is better to enter the water with your hand shortly after it has passed your head and then to extend the arm forward under water.
- Save energy by using a relaxed two-beat kick for middle and long distance swimming. This means that you kick at the same pace as you stroke with your arms.
- Make sure your palm is parallel to the water surface while it extends forward under water during the arm recovery. A common mistake freestyle swimmers make is to angle their palm upward at the end of the recovery. In that case they are in fact pushing water forward and slowing themselves down.
- In the beginning, a nose clip can be useful because it keeps water out of your nose and so this is one less thing to worry about and you can relax more. Once your technique and coordination has improved later on you will be able to get rid of the nose clip without too much effort. Personally I used a nose clip for a year while learning the freestyle stroke before getting rid of it.
The 10 swimming tips presented in this article should help you improve your freestyle swimming technique. Some of these tips can be applied immediately, others will need some time to be mastered. So have a good time while trying them out and be patient if it takes some time to master them