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The Reach Part of Your Freestyle Stroke

Once you have learned to finish your stroke and you have a good bent arm action under water for your freestyle and you have learn to have your hand enter the water properly the next thing you need to master is the reach.

Wait... Get Your Lesson Plans Here

Now I should point out that this is in fact more important than the hand entering the water at your ear as there are many top level swimmers, particularly if they are long distance swimmers, that don't let their hands enter the water until they have extended their arms as far as they can along the surface of the water. But this is a specialty action and is for a coach to train a swimmer in. For most swimmers the most appropriate action is your hand entering the water at your ear followed by the reach (Fig.#1) not the reach and then you hand entering the water.

Freestyle Reach: Image of woman swimming freestyle reaching with her left arm under the water and her right arm entering the water at her ear
Fig.#1 Reach
As can be seen from the picture above the reach is where a swimmer fully extends their arm as far as they can just slightly under the surface of the water. The object is to grab as much water as you possibly can and then draw that water though to the finish of your stroke. The more water you grab the more efficient your stoke will be.

And that's it.... except that:-

The best reach is achieved with a slight roll of your body.

Now the roll is the tricky part and is often best taught by a coach. You don't have to have it for recreational swimming. but a good roll will result in you grabbing more water and making you stroke much more efficient.

A Bad roll on the other hand will result in over reaching and a zig zag.

If you do chose to introduce a roll and you don't want to go to a coach you will need to have someone watch you because it is far too easy to introduce over reaching into your stoke if you don't get feed back on how you are going.


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