Improve Your Front Crawl Stroke With This tip From the pros
Take a look at these elite swimmers under the water in the same position in their front crawl strokes – the catch. What do you notice?
Australian 10K champion Rhys Mainstone:
Double Olympic Gold Medallist Rebecca Adlington:
Seven-Time Marathon Swimming Champion Shelley Taylor-Smith:
Double Commonwealth Gold Medallist Ross Davenport:
Correct Technique for Swimming Front Crawl efficiently
That’s right, they are all extending forwards under the water into this position with the elbow slightly higher than the wrist and the wrist slightly higher than the fingertips:
Notice also the depth of the arm and hand. The arm isn’t right up at the surface as many swimmers believe it should be, it’s actually quite deep around 30-40cm (12-16″). Trying to catch the water near the surface shows the palm forwards and drops the elbow, really damaging the catch. We call this position “putting on the brakes” as it not only harms the catch, it increases the amount of drag you’re having to work against, but it kills stroke rhythm too:
Getting this position right with your own front crawl swimming is absolutely key, because from there you are well positioned to bring the hand and forearm downwards to press the water backwards and it’s this action that will propel you through the water more effectively. Not only will you move more quickly through the water, but you’ll work much more efficiently as well, meaning you won’t use up as much energy, allowing you to keep going for longer.
A Key Drill To Develop Your Front Crawl Stroke
Swim Smooth’s go-to drill for developing this extension position is Side-Kick using a pair of fins:
You can also experiment with putting a swimming paddle such as a Finis Freestyler on your lead hand as you perform the drill. The shape of the paddle will give you more feedback on your hand position as you travel forwards through the water.