To really master each swimming stroke, you need to put the effort into your training regime. If you fail to train properly, then you simply won’t be able to shave those crucial seconds, or even milliseconds off your time.
Remember that in a competitive sport of this nature, the smallest amount of time can be the difference between taking home a winner’s trophy and just missing out by a fraction.
As you’ll no doubt want to be placed in the first category, let’s take a look at how both competitive and recreational swimmers can improve their front crawl technique.
1. Focus on your breathing
When it comes to mastering your technique, you need to consider all of the factors that can make a difference to your overall performance.
Obviously how you use your arms, legs, head and core strength will have an impact; however, breathing is also one of the fundamental areas that will make a difference.
Once you are comfortable with your front crawl style, take time to focus solely on your breathing. Observe how you are currently breathing and aim to adapt to the following method.
You need to be breathing to alternative sides during every third stroke. To allow you to take in the correct amount of air successfully, place your ear on your shoulder and your cheek on the water surface.
By doing this, you won’t be taking in too much air (or too little) before you need to resurface again.
2. Use the correct head position
The more streamlined you are, the faster you will become. To remain streamlined in the front crawl position, you need to keep your head still and in line with your body.
Remember to also ensure that the water level is between your eyebrows and hairline when you are moving.
With your head in the pool, keep looking down and forward. We strongly advise using swimming goggles for this to protect your eyes from chlorine and debris. Should you need to purchase a decent pair, you can locate these on our site.
You don’t want your head to be too low or high as this will create more strain on your neck and will also make it harder for you to swim.
3. Ensure sufficient arm action
With front crawl, your arms should always alternate and be continuous to maintain steady motion. Furthermore, when each hand enters the water it should do so between the centre line of your head and shoulder line.
Make sure you look to see if you are bringing your arm up and over your head in the correct position, and if you‘re not then adjust accordingly.
Your hands should also be pitched with your palm facing down, whilst your elbows should be bent and placed slightly higher than your hand during each stroke.
When your hands enter, they should stretch out in front of you first before catching and pulling the water with a large paddle surface area of your hand. During this phase you should push your hands towards the floor of the pool. Keep your fingers together too as this will create a more efficient surface area.
With practice, you’ll be able to build strength and move smoothly through the water.
4. Create a streamlined body
Keep your body parallel to the water and create the flattest profile possible. This will make you more streamlined and reduce resistance.
Your lower body also needs to be placed at a good level. If it is too low or too high, this will require you to work harder and consume more energy.
To avoid this, place your lower back just below the surface and try and hold a consistent position when racing.
If your body remains in the same place, it will be a lot easier to work on your arms and kicking technique, as opposed to loosing focus by trying to hold yourself properly.
5. Master your leg kick
First of all, keep your feet and ankles as relaxed as possible for the best front crawl kick. If they stiffen up you’ll lose the free-flowing motion that you are aiming for. It’s also advised to kick the legs alternatively from the hips with six kicks to one arm pull. This will help to balance your body. More importantly, never kick from your knees as this will break your profile and slow you down.
Remember that the majority of propulsion using this stroke comes from your arms and upper body. However, if your legs aren’t too low in the water and your heels just break the surface this will also improve your technique massively.
Finally, keep your legs fairly close together. If they are far apart you’ll create even more drag.
Over to you
So now that you’ve read the above techniques, it’s time to dive into the pool and put them into practice. Remember - once you’ve mastered the basics of any stroke you can still improve your swimming style by making minor changes.