Freestyle swimming is the fastest of the swimming techniques, and at the same time, along with backstroke, it is another of the swimming styles that swim in turns. According to the official definition, free swimming refers to a free style of swimming. In competitions on freestyle swimming trips, it is allowed to swim in the way you choose with certain restrictions. However, according to the established understanding, when talking about free swimming, the so-called freestyle swimming. In this article, we go through the basics of freestyle or freestyle swimming technique and give tips for practicing freestyle swimming with lifeguard recertification.

Freestyle kick

In the freestyle kicking position, the ankles are stretched straight, however, in such a way that they should not be strained. A good starting position for kicks is to keep your legs straight, from which you can start doing light kicks by bending your knees only slightly. When kicking, the surface of the water is usually broken, but in this case you have to be careful of too big kicks, because then the swimmer’s knees are probably too bent. Keeping the ankle relaxed ensures that the trajectory of the kick becomes undulating and wide enough, so that the kick also moves the swimmer forward better.

The kicking rhythm of freestyle swimming technique depends on many things. Usually, in sprint freestyles, swimmers may kick 6 or 8 times during a pair of strokes. The other extreme is long-distance swimming, where the kick rhythm can be, for example, 2 kicks per stroke pair. It would be good for fitness swimmers and others learning the technique of freestyle swimming to learn the 6-stroke kicking technique already when starting to practice the technique.

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Freestyle hand stroke

In freestyle swimming technique, the hand stroke is a more effective part of swimming than the kick. This is also reflected in the demandingness of the manual pulling technique. The stroke length of the arm stroke is practically 2 times the size of the swimmer’s arm – or more, because when starting the arm stroke, the shoulder is usually pushed to the height of the ear. Similarly, at the end of the freestyle stroke, the hand is extended almost straight towards the swimmer’s toes.

In freestyle swimming technique, the hand stroke can be divided into four parts:

  • Bet initiation
  • Pull phase
  • Final push
  • Bet refund
  • Bet initiation

The freestyle handstrokes is thought to start when the hand breaks the surface of the water above the swimmer’s head. In this case, the hand can be straight or slightly bent in order to have a better grip on the water. After this, the swimmer can slide the hand straight ahead for a while. The stroke actually starts with the swimmer starting to bend the arm from the elbow down, with the palm trying to point straight back as quickly as possible. This is especially important so that the force generated by the hand is directed in the right direction from the beginning, i.e. backwards.

Pull phase

After the initial phase of the pull, during the pull phase it is important to keep the elbow bent so that the elbow does not direct the pull. If this happens, the swimmer’s swimming position and the power output of the stroke suffer. When the hand is at the eye line, the fingers point to the left if the bet was made with the right hand. The arm should still be bent so that the elbow is in the same horizontal line as the fingers. After this step, the hand should be brought to the navel, following roughly the same elbow-finger angle, where the final thrust of the stroke begins.

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Final push

In the final push phase of the freestyle technique, the hand is brought back almost straight, however, so that the wrist angle is not quite 180 degrees. In this way, the longest possible draw is ensured. The same idea also applies to the elbow angle.

Bet refund

At the end of the underwater portion of the hand bet, the return of the bet begins . There are different schools of thought when it comes to returning the stroke, but it would be important to make sure that the hand line does not exceed the shoulder line too much. This prevents unnecessary muscle tension in the shoulder area and keeps the body position more correct. A good way is to return the arm slightly bent, following such an angle that it does not splash the oncoming swimmer on the same course.

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