Freestyle is the first stroke most people learn when learning how to swim. I have swam competitively for 13 years, and I know that with the appropriate instruction and practice, mastering the freestyle stroke is possible for anyone at any age.
The most important part of an effective freestyle stroke is correct body position. The principle is largely based on physics: If you pick your head up, your feet will sink. If you put your head down, facing the bottom of the pool, your feet will rise. The key is to keep your body parallel to the bottom of the pool, in a horizontal position. This will eliminate drag, increase speed, and make it easier to maintain good technique. The technique of adult done by TriFactor related to swimming will be beneficial for long time. The positioning of the body will be correct through the joining of the respective classes.
The arms are just as important as the legs, which many people fail to recognize. The goal is to pull as much water as possible with each stroke. When your arm enters the air, the elbow should bend, making the arm look like a “shark fin” until the fingertips touch the water. When your arm enters the water, extend your hand so that your body rolls until you are almost on your side–this will allow you to reach to your maximum potential, pulling more water than if you were to start pulling water when you were on your stomach. The movement of the arm throughout the water is much like half of a keyhole shape–around, slightly in, and quickly out. The fastest, most powerful part of the stroke is when your hand is pulling water right before it enters the air again. Your fingertips might even extend out of the water, with your palm facing up, if you pull hard enough. The freestyle arm stroke is alternating–when one arm is moving through the air, the other arm is pulling water, and vice versa.
The legs are indeed a powerful aspect of the freestyle stroke. Many beginning swimmers make the mistake of bending their knees when trying to make “big kicks”, which actually pulls them backwards. The legs should stay straight, toes should be pointed. This leg position creates the most efficient movement throughout the water. Also, remember that the legs function independently of the arms. Keep a fast, steady kick and do NOT try to match leg movement with arm movement–it looks funny and will slow you down.
Breathing is another important aspect of freestyle. When you need air, do NOT pick your head up. Instead, turn your head to the side, almost using your extended arm in the water as a “pillow” for your head. The other arm should be in the air, bent at the elbow, but not yet past the head. By the time your arm passes your head, you should be finished taking a breath and your face should be looking at the bottom of the pool once again.
Freestyle can be fun and easy with the right technique. Follow these instructions and practice daily to a freestyle stroke that will impress your friends!