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Swimming: Tips to Improve Freestyle Stroke

Swimming: Tips to Improve Freestyle Stroke


Whether you’re at the beginning of your training for a triathlon or just want to improve your overall swimming ability, improving your freestyle swimming is where you should focus your attention. By improving technique in your training, you will not only be able to swim faster and increase duration, but you will also improve overall fitness, enabling you to find swimming more enjoyable.

Top Tips for Improving Your Swimming Freestyle Stroke

Always keep the following tips in mind:

  • Swimming Position –

    • When swimming, your body should be parallel with the waters surface. Keep your head in line with your trunk, looking slightly ahead, not straight to the bottom of the pool. To help achieve this, try practicing freestyle drills such as “pressing your buoy”, this will help eradicate sinking hips and legs while swimming. In addition, having good straight posture and ensuring your core is strong and engaged when swimming is something that should be noted. This will make you more torpedo-like, so you spear through the water.
  • Breathing –

    • The secret to freestyle breathing is to focus on your exhalation. You should be constantly exhaling strongly through your mouth or nose while your head is in the water. This ensures that when you turn your head for a breath, you have enough time to inhale. In addition, take the time to teach yourself bilateral breathing, this will keep your body balanced, aiding you to maintain a symmetrical stroke and helping you feel more relaxed in the pool.
  • Stroke –

    • Body roll is a very important part of stroke technique. This refers to ensuring that your shoulders, torso and hips all rotate together from side to side, in one smooth motion. Good body roll makes breathing easier while increasing your stroke length. Take note that you don’t want to aim to cover greater distance with faster strokes, but rather swim a further distance with each stroke. The more distance you travel per stroke, the fewer strokes you’ll need to take, thus helping you conserve energy.
  • Kick –

    • There are two important things to remember in regards to your kick. Firstly, try to kick from the hip with a relatively straight leg, as oppose to from the knee. Secondly, make sure you have plantar flexed feet, which refers to having your toes pointed when swimming. Both of these tips will help you avoid drag, so you avoid loss of speed.

No matter what type of swimming style you engage in, it is important to warm up correctly and include specific stretching exercises and strength training into your routine. This is particularly important so as you don’t damage your rotator cuff, commonly known as swimmer’s shoulder. Other common injuries include neck injuries, lower back injuries and knee injuries. If you have suffered a swimming related injury or would like to get more out of your swimming training, contact us here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic. Our physiotherapists are trained in treating a wide range of sports related injuries and offer biomechanical assessments to assess your training concerns.

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