The fastest way through the water is when your body is in its most streamline position. When swimming freestyle it is best to be as streamline as you can at all times. In ideal freestyle, we want to go from streamline on your side to streamline on your other side, while keeping the body as streamline as possible during this transition. Any time your body bends or any part of your body goes out of streamline it will put drag on the water moving past you, slowing you down.
Imagine every stroke you bend your body slightly, pushing your hip a little out to the side, this may slow you down 2 seconds per 50m, which would add up to nearly 1 and a half minutes over 2km.
Next time you are swimming freestyle think about the tips below:
When swimming freestyle think about being as tall as you can through your whole body from your fingers to your toes. This will help to keep your focus on being long which will help to keep you in a straight line.
Each freestyle stroke you take reach your hand towards the end of the pool. Doing this will help to keep your hands and arms going straight ahead as opposed to any sort of angle. Wherever you reach your hands and arms, your body will follow.
Imagine to yourself you are swimming through a tight cylinder pipe. This will help to eliminate anything you may have going on that breaks your streamline. For example, you may be splitting your legs too wide when kicking – if you imagine swimming through a cylinder your legs would hit the sides of the cylinder everytime they split too wide.
When swimming in a pool and pushing off the wall it is a good idea to get into the habit of streamlining as tight as you can every single push off. This not only helps you to move through the water faster during your push off but also helps to stretch down the side of your arms and upper body. This stretch helps to lengthen the muscles used in freestyle making it easier to get your arms over the water in the recovery and also easier to reach your hand out in front each stroke.
For more on keeping streamline check out our video:
Carl is head coach at Swim360 Coach, a former Olympian and national champion freestyler. Carl now uses his skills and passion for coaching and competing in the open water.