There are 5 parts to the freestyle arm pull:
1. Entry: As you extend forward into your stroke and reach maximum extension with your hand just under the surface of the water.
2. Catch: You hinge at the elbow keeping the elbow close to the surface of the water and pointing your fingertips down to the bottom of the pool. Be sure to keep your wrist straight to maintain the integrity of your paddle.
3. Power Phase: Activate your lat and press your vertical forearm through the water.
4. Finish: Extend your arm engaging your tricep and pressing the water through towards your feet.
5. Recovery: Keep your arm wide and relaxed while sending your hand back forward to begin the entry.
Watch two-time Olympic freestyler Chloe Sutton demonstrate a “doggy paddle” drill focusing on executing the high elbow catch with a powerful and quick bend of the elbow to form a 90 angle with elbow on the surface and fingertips pointing to the bottom. Also notice that she wears a snorkel in this drill to eliminate the need to lift her head to breathe.
This drill helps us satisfy our 3 goals for a strong arm pull:
- Press the water back as long as possible.
- Press with as much surface area as possible
- Use large muscles and rotation to get more power out of your pull
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