Why You Should Finish Your Swimming Stroke, Especially Freestyle

It's a balance between efficiency and speed.

For example a car traveling at 10kph will be more efficient in that it will use considerably less fuel than one at 100kph. But the car going 100kph will get there sooner.

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A beginner swimmer needs maximum efficiency

A competitor may sacrifice some efficiency for speed.

Thus competitors may not need to finish their strokes as much as a beginner but a beginner must.

There is an argument amongst coaches that says that the last few centimeters of a stroke only adds a very small amount of propulsion to a swimmer and therefore it is worth sacrificing in order to return more quickly to the greater propulsive part of the stroke. That may or may not be true, I don't care as I am not a swimming coach.

I do care whether a swimmer has enough propulsion to move themselves efficiently enough to keep themselves as level in the water as they can and as all struggling swimmers swim relatively slowly that means you have to maximize every part of every stoke to achieve that goal. Thus if you are relatively new to swimming or you are fixing your poor swimming stroke you have to finish your stroke.

That is you have to push the water with your hand all the way down past your side and your hand should leave the water at the point of your lower hip.

Only after your hand leaves the water at your hip should you return your hand to the start of the stroke.

That's it, unless you are a competitive swimmer, finish your strokes. Of course if you are a competitive swimmer you probable won't be reading this blog, so that means everyone of you reading this should be finishing your strokes.


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