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Learn How To Swim - Beginning Freestyle

Beginning Freestyle Can Be Daunting

Freestyle is internationally the most popular swimming stroke. This is probably because it is also the fastest. There are many components to beginning freestyle that that are needed in order for you to swim it correctly.

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Some research suggests that the term Freestyle is not the original name of the stroke.

According to some sources (the original of which I cannot lay my hands on at this time) originally this swimming stroke was called a crawl or front stroke.

Whether it was originally called the Australian crawl is one of those subjects that will forever be debated as it seems that everybody wants to lay claim to originating it.

As an Australian I like the idea that it was invented by an Australian and so that is my story and I'm sticking to it.

The stroke gained the name Freestyle from, as I understand it, the Olympics.

There was a section of the swimming events in which the competitors were allowed to use whatever stroke they preferred. Along comes the crawl and so easily defeats everything else that everybody starts to use it and over time the stroke becomes known as Freestyle.

Some teachers insist on teaching the breathing part of this stroke first. I can't for the life of me figure out why. People come to swimming lessons to learn to swim. Therefore you should teach them to swim first. Trying to teach breathing first only leaves the student frustrated, asking "why is it taking so long before I can swim".

The Order Of Teaching

I teach the stroke first. Once the swimming student has enough power in their stroke that's when you should introduce breathing. So I am going to start by introducing the stroke.

Image of the how your arm should progress through the water when doing freestyle. Showing that the arm movers past the face and down the center of the body and exits at the hip. It takes quite some practice when you are Beginning Freestyle
Freestyle Arms Progress in The Water

When the inexperienced try to teach freestyle the first thing that they try to teach is a bent arm action. Some people get it straight away but many don't and the result is a very poor stroke that has to be fixed afterwards. Often with great difficulty.

Many people who learn to swim with the bent arm action first, never learn to complete their stroke. The result is incorrect entry of the hand into the water, insufficient power to breathe properly and week swimming often resulting in exhaustion over very short distances.

Your first steps towards freestyle should therefore be a straight arm action out of the water. I say out of the water because it doesn't matter if your arm is a little bent under the water as long as it doesn't go past the centre of your body. But your arms should be as straight as you can make them when they leave the water.

Image of a swimmers moving through a windmill action
Straight Arm Action

The Leg Movement

You are probably going to splash a lot. That's OK, we'll fix that later.

For the time being straight arms out of the water with your face in the water and No attempt at breathing, is what you should be practicing. Next we need to establish a good torpedo.


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