Correct Arm Movements for Freestyle Swimming

Why am I sinking when I start rotating my arms? I think I do not have the correct arm movement for freestyle swimming.

There are a few reasons why you might start to sink as you begin your arm action during freestyle swimming.

The cause could be a lack of propulsion, body position or a combination of both. It could also be that you are not relaxed enough, and your body is too rigid, making your swimming stroke tense.

The freestyle swimming technique gets most of its propulsion from the arm action. The legs kick mainly to provide balance and support, especially over a long distance. If you fail to pull hard enough to generate enough propulsion, the result will be that sinking feeling.

Body position is crucial to maintaining a streamlined movement through the water. Freestyle body position must be a flat position at the water's surface. This flat position is only achieved when the face is submerged – only the face and not the entire head.

The most common mistake is to raise the head to face forwards when breathing or have to face permanently out of the water from the start. Any movement upwards of the head will cause the legs to sink. The breathing technique for freestyle should be rolling the head to the side.

Combining the correct body position (including the head position when breathing) with enough propulsion from the arm action will result in a smooth freestyle swimming technique.

My eBook How To Swim Front Crawl contains over 20 separate exercises covering all aspects of the swimming stroke, including body position, arm action and breathing. You can download it instantly, print out the exercises you need and take them to your pool to try out. The exercises are obvious, easy to follow, and will help your freestyle swimming technique. Click the link below for more information.

Basic Freestyle Swimming Technique Made Easy

Basic drills for learning how to swim front crawl
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Freestyle Breathing Technique with Limited Neck Movement

I need some help with freestyle breathing technique with limited neck movement. I have an adult pupil who has limited neck movement, any ideas on how to get him to breathe efficiently when doing freestyle?

Thanks for your question.

If your adult pupil has a physical problem with their neck that prevents them from moving through a standard range of movement, then there may be little that can be done to achieve an efficient breathing technique. He may have to sacrifice stroke efficiency for a more prominent shoulder roll to turn his head and take a breath.

However, ensure that the timing of the breath is correct. In other words, make sure his arm is entirely through its propulsive phase and out of the way of the face as he breathes. If the breath is early or late, the arm and shoulder will limit neck movement.

Also, ensure your pupil is not attempting to turn his head too far in an attempt to breathe. The head needs to be turned just enough for the mouth to be clear of the water surface to inhale.

Ensure he is trickle breathing (exhaling underwater) so that when he turns his head to breathe, he only has to inhale, unlike explosive breathing, which takes longer and is more tiring (holding his breath while swimming and then breathing out and then in the short time his head is turned).

Depending on your pupil's needs, breaststroke is always easier from a breathing perspective, and it also requires no turning of the head and neck. If he is a beginner, then maybe consider this. If it is his wish to pursue freestyle, the above will hopefully help.