I Lose My Front Crawl Technique When I Get Tired

I seem to lose my front crawl technique and my kicking when I get tired.The first ten lengths is ok but after that when I get tired its all gone. Please help


Thanks for contacting me with a question. A question I might add that I am asked a lot!

Losing your technique because of tiredness is very common and as front crawl is high energy consuming swimming stroke, it doesn’t take long before it all falls apart. To be honest 10 lengths is not bad going.

A couple of things to think about that might help you out.

Firstly you mentioned you kicking. Be mindful of how much kicking you are actually doing. It is very common to kick far more than you really need to, especially over a long distance.

Remember the power and propulsion for front crawl comes mainly from the arm action. Propulsion is generated from the leg kick but no way near as much as from the arms.

Watch a long distance front crawl swimmer, for example a triathlete. Each leg kicks once for every arm pull, serving less as propulsion and more as a counter balance to the arm actions, to help keep the stroke as whole balanced and even.

On the other hand take a short distance front crawl sprint, over 50 or 100 meters. The legs kick with enormous speed and power to provide maximum propulsion and assistance to the arms. All energy is usually spent by the end of this short distance.

Conclusion: less leg kicks equals energy saved - energy that you will need in order to swim a longer distance.

Secondly be mindful of your breathing and in particular how often you breathe. I will assume that you exhale into the water (the easiest and most natural method) and not hold your breath, which only serves to make you more tired.

Once again the distance being swum will dictate the frequency that you need to breathe. Longer distances more often and shorter distances less. This may sound obvious but it is all too easy to set off from the start and get the pace and frequency of the breathing wrong, despite what might feel right at the time, only for it to catch you out later in the swim.

front crawl technique timing

Breathing every stroke or every other stroke will help to keep a steady pace and hopefully allow you to last longer. Bilateral breathing (alternating the side you breathe to by taking a breath every three arm pulls) is a nice even and steady breathing pattern. However even this cannot be maintained over long distances. Taking a breath every stroke cycle will cover longer distances, which again you will see if you watch any long distance swimmer.

Lastly there is the age-old problem of fitness. Your fitness and stamina will ultimately dictate how far you can swim before your body tells you it has had enough. Like any form of exercise, the more you do it the fitter and stronger you become.

I hope you can take on board the tips above and with a little extra fitness and stamina you can take your front crawl beyond 10 and maintain your technique.

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