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Maintain these body position fundamentals for an excellent front crawl!

Here you can see the excellent technique of Haydn Woolley, who previously held the Ironman triathlon swim record of 43.5 mins.

To swim front crawl with a fantastic technique, an element of your stroke should be so ingrained that's it's done almost subconsciously. To do this maintain the following 8 body positions fundamentals, which will make-up the foundation of your front crawl:

  1. Stroke rate (ideally 60 per minute) - for continuity and rhythm

  2. Bodyroll 45 degrees each side for reducing drag and streamlining

  3. 3/4 catch for arms timing and rhythm

  4. Kicking - for balance and streamlining

  5. A long stroke at the front and rear for distance per stroke

  6. High elbow recovery to reduce drag and resistance

  7. Breathing timing and correct inhale / exhale

  8. Swim on shoulder drill for balance

The following drills below are essential if you're to maintain the correct body position fundamentals:

1. Stroke Rate Improvement

If your stroke rate is lower than 60 strokes per minute, then you’ll be experiencing a slower arm action, longer glide, or feeling like a clinical stroke. Aim for 60 strokes per minute, or perform the stroke rate ramp test to work out your stroke rate sweet spot. This will help keep you moving through the water constantly instead of slowing and re accelerating on each stroke.

2. Bodyroll

Performing normal front crawl, rotate from the hips to 45 degrees each side. Minimises frontal area resistance, making you more streamlined.

3. ¾ catch up

The outstretched hand glides until the other hand enters just past your head, keeping the stroke flowing and in a contnuous motion.

4. Kicking

Kick from your hips not the knees keeping your body horizontal. Balances stroke and actions of arms and breathing and can aid in propulsion.

5a. Glide

Once your hand has entered, glide, reach and stretch for 1-2 seconds before starting the stroke. This drill limits bubbles on entry in preparation for a good catch.

5b. Touch thigh

Touch your thigh on the push phase of the stroke. Lengthening rear phase of stroke and increasing your distance per stroke. This drill will also help to give you more time to breathe in.

6. Zips

Slide your thumb up your side from hip to armpit. Promotes high elbow recovery.

7. Breathing timing

If you are breathing in too late your breathing arm will have past your mouth and shoulder by the time it exits the water. The correct place for it to be as you begin to breathe in is just passing your shoulder. Make sure you are rotating on a long axis with your hip roll being driven from your core at the same time. By breathing in much earlier you can almost triple the amount of time you can breathe in, in a more balanced and relaxed manner.

8. Swim on shoulder

Once your hand has entered the water just past your head, and whilst reaching out in front. Improves arm position and sets up elbow for high catch and pull phases.

Would you like to benefit from gaining more of an insight into how to do these drills effectively, and how to translate this style of more efficient front crawl into your normal swim stroke?

Then sign up to one or all of the following coaching services we offer:

1. Fitness & Technique Squad (front crawl) at Aldershot 50 metre indoor pool on Tuesday evenings at 8.30pm.

2. Swim Analysis Clinic on Sunday 21st July 2019 from 12-5pm

3. Private Technique and Fitness Swim Lessons at Guildford Outdoor Lido

4. Swim Video Analysis at Tribal in Chertsey using an endless pool with 4 video cameras.

About Speedy Swimming:

Speedy Swimming was founded in 2008 by IRONMAN finisher and long-term triathlete Nick de Meyer.

Nick is passionate about endurance sports and inspiring others to achieve their goals. He has coached triathletes and swimmers from all levels from beginners to those competing at all distances of triathlon world championships.

Nick de Meyer

  • Level 3 British Triathlon Coach

  • STA Level 2 Swim Teacher

  • Training Peaks Level 1 Coach

  • Former Head Coach Phoenix Triathlon Club

  • Former British Triathlon Regional Development and Performance Coach

  • Training Bible Coaching UK Master Endurance Coach with Joe Friel

  • 2x Ironman finisher

  • 20 years experience in training and racing triathlons

  • Worked with British Triathlon South East Region / Inter regional champs

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