Learn to Swim – Freestyle
The freestyle is a swimming style commonly referred to as the front crawl or sidestroke. It is regularly used in competitions, but there are no real regulations on how it has to be swum. Most swimmers chose to swim front crawl during freestyle competitions as it is the fastest technique. For individual freestyle competitions, a swimmer can use any stroke they want. During medley competitions, a swimmer cannot use the breaststroke, butterfly stroke or backstroke.
Freestyle Technique Swimming Tips:
1. Leg Kick: The leg kick will control the body position in the water, while the arm cycle will move the body forwards. Establishing the correct timing between your legs and arms is vital to perfecting the stroke. The legs kick in a flutter style ideally 6 times per cycle. During freestyle try to remain horizontal in the water, a strong kick will keep your legs from sinking behind you. You should only make a small splash with your legs, only slightly breaking the surface of the water.
2. Arm Cycle: The arm cycle consists of Pulling, Pushing and the Recovery. Pulling is the semicircle movement your arms make from the water level to the chest. The arm is kept straight and the hand points towards the body center and downward. As you pull your hands through the water, keep them cupped firmly, but not rigidly. Fingers should be held just slightly apart. Pushing is the completion of the pull, the swimmers arm is pulled back up to the waters level. The palm is moved backward through the water underneath the body at the beginning and at the side of the body at the end of the push. The recovery moves the elbow in a semicircle in the swimming direction. The lower arm and the hand are completely relaxed and hang down from the elbow. The recovering hand moves forward, just above the surface of the water. During the recovery the shoulder is moved into the air by twisting the torso. It is important to relax the arm during the recovery. To practice the elbow movement try skimming the water with your fingertips, you should also try stretching each stroke out as much as possible without ever stopping the motion.
3. Breathing: The swimmers face is kept down in the water during freestyle. Breathing is done through the mouth by turning the head to the side of a recovering arm at the beginning of the recovery. The head is rotated back at the end of the recovery and points down in the water again. The swimmer breathes out through mouth and nose until the next breath. Try to take a breath every 3rd arm recovery so you will be able to breath from either side.