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Do you need to to improve your entry phase for front crawl?

Your hand entry for front crawl can either set you up for success or failure in the other phases of the stroke. Ideally you would want to be entering the water quietly and with minimal splash, as if you're slicing a knife through hot butter. Your entry phase should help you to set up the catch in the best possible way by having your hand and forearm high and in a line. This forms your "paddle",


Enter the water with a flat hand, just past your head, and in the following order: fingers, thumb, wrist, elbow, shoulder.

Point your middle finger towards the end of the pool. Your hand and forearm should all be in a straight line, with the elbow staying high and just above your hand. Keep the hand straight so not turning out to the side left or right or bending at the wrist.

Your hand should then reach forwards just underwater with a straight arm. Your arm needs to glide just under the surface of the water, without crossing in towards the midline of your body. You should glide for 1 second to help eliminate any bubbles prior to starting the catch. This is very important as the higher your hand and arm the more water you will push back in the catch, meaning you'll go faster and further from each stroke. (More on this in the upcoming catch phase blog).

Issues of incorrect hand entry position

  • Over reaching

  • Thumb first entry > 30 degrees

  • Crossing over the midline of your body

  • Hands pointing up on entry

  • No glide on the entry

  • Elbows slapping in first

Benefits of a correct hand entry

  1. Reduced drag and resistance

  2. Improved streamlining

  3. Better pace control

  4. Reduced stroke count per length from increased swim efficiency

  5. Reduced shoulder fatigue

Which paddles are best for working on removing a cross over on entry or under your body in your front crawl stroke?

Our favourite is the Finis Freestyler paddle due to the fin underneath. There's simply no escaping the feeling of extra pressure if you turn the paddle sideways, whether intentionally or not.

This is important to make yourself more streamlined and maintain the pressure on the water all the way through the underwater stroke

To find out how your stroke looks underwater book an Endless pool video analysis session with Speedy Swimming at TRIBAL in Chertsey

Freestyler Paddles available from

To learn more sign up to our Swim Video Analysis clinic on Sunday 19th January 2020 from 12-5pm at Tribal in Chertsey, Surrey.

Learn more here and how to book:

If you can't make this date, but still want to learn how, then book yourself in for a series of swim video analysis lessons in the endless pool.

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