Front Crawl Step By Step...

...and a free Front Crawl Book

Learn to swim front crawl step by step and you will be swimming with elegant smooth technique in no time.  

Work through each step listed below and slowly piece together parts of the stroke as you learn what each part of your body should be doing. 

Grab yourself a free copy of my Front Crawl Technique book as you go and keep it for some added help and support. 

Ready?  Set... Let's go!

Learn front crawl step by step for beginners

Step 1: Body Position

The starting point for learning front crawl is the body position.  It's from here that everything else depends, so this is the most essential part of learning front crawl step by step.  The easiest drill to practice is the 'push and glide' from the pool side:

  1. Start by grabbing the poolside with both hands behind you and put your feet up against the wall, so you are poised and ready to spring away from the wall. 
  2. Take a deep breath and submerge your face - and then immediately...
  3. Let go of the wall and stretch your arms and hands in front of you...
  4. you push hard with both feet and stretch out away from the wall. 

You should aim to create a streamlined body shape that cuts through the water.

Front crawl body position from a push and glide

Ensure you have:

  • your feet together
  • your head tucked inside your arms
  • your hands together and fingers closed

For more detailed information about front crawl body position, click here.

Grab Yourself a Free Front Crawl Technique eBook

Step 2: Front Crawl Leg Technique

A relaxed leg kick is the key here.  Don't get caught up in thinking 'if I kick harder, I will stay up and go further'.  That is not the case.  Grab a float or kickboard, hold it in both hands and:

  1. Take a deep breath, submerge your face and push away from the poolside with one foot.
  2. Stretch your arms and the float out in front of your and...
  3. ...begin to kick in a steady, alternating, up-and-down action
  4. Ensure your kicks just break the surface of the water on the way up...
  5. ...and your relaxed foot acts like a flipper on the way down to provide some propulsion.

Ensure that:

  • the kick comes from the hips
  • the knees and ankles are relaxed
  • the body position remains level

For more in-depth knowledge about front crawl kicking, click here.

Step 3: Front Crawl Arms

The arms are the driving force of front crawl, so a smooth, alternating action is essential. Practice one arm at a time first of all.  Grab your float or kickboard and hold it in one hand.  

  1. Take a deep breath, face down, stretch both arms out in front
  2. Push away from the wall and begin to kick
  3. Pull through the water with hand and arm not holding the float
  4. Pull under your body through to your hip, bending your elbow as you do
  5. Allow your elbow to exit the water as you pull through and your hand to stretch over the water surface, back to it's starting position
  6. Repeat with the opposite arm
basic technique for swimming front crawl arms

Ensure that you:

  • Keep your fingers closed together
  • Pull under your body line not deep down in the water
  • Reach over the water surface not high up
  • Maintain a flat and level body position

For more details about each part of front crawl arm technique, click here.

Step 4: Front Crawl Breathing

Breathing technique for front crawl is a slow steady process known as 'trickle breathing'.  The technique of trickle breathing is to exhale slowly from the mouth in a steady, controlled way. The action for taking a breath requires rolling the head to one side to allow inhalation.

  1. Stand at the poolside, take a deep breath and submerge your face
  2. Exhale slowly from your mouth, blowing small controlled bubbles
  3. Roll you head to the side so that your mouth and nose clear the water surface and inhale through your mouth
  4. Repeat until you find a regular, comfortable repeated pattern
  5. Repeat the single arm practice from Step 3, exhaling as your pull through the water
  6. As your arm pulls back, roll your head to face the vacated space to the side and inhale
  7. Submerge your face again as your arm recovers over the water surface

For a more in-depth look at front crawl breathing, click here.

Step 5: Front Crawl Coordination

The leg kicks and arm pulls should be continuous and alternating, working together to keep the stroke balanced.  The body position (remember that?) has to remain level and flat, while the arms and legs fo about their business.

This is where learning front crawl step by step all begins to come together:

  1. Push and glide away from the poolside with arms stretched out in front.
  2. Begin to kick in a relaxed and smooth alternating action
  3. Keep kicking and begin to pull, 1 arm pull every 3 leg kicks
  4. Trickle breathing all the time, roll your head to the side as and when you need to take a new breath.
  5. Keep everything slow, steady and controlled.  Relax and feel the water - don't fight it. 
basic front crawl step by step timing and coordination

Slowly piece together your front crawl step by step. Don't stress if you can't quite get the rhythm or the timing pattern.  If you find yourself kicking one kick for each arm pull, that's great. As long as your arm pulls and leg kicks are continuous. 

For more information about different front crawl timing patterns, click here.

Get Loads More Front Crawl Step By Step Drills

If you find some of the steps here tricky, then you might find some other front crawl drills easier.  You will find 22 different drills, covering all parts of the stroke in my book 'How To Swim Front Crawl', along with teaching points and all the dos and don'ts. 

Grab a copy of my book here and learn front crawl step by step by step by step...

Basic drills for learning how to swim front crawl
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