Freestyle Swimming is one of the fastest and efficient competitive swimming technique, Freestyle or the Front Crawl is preferred by most of the triathletes and experienced swimmers.
How to Perform Freestyle Swimming?
In order to perform freestyle swimming, assume a prone position in the water. The arms need to perform alternating movements. As one of the arms moves backward from a position above the surface, the hips provide a forward thrust. During this maneuver, the second arm goes above the head. The legs are moved in a fluttering manner to provide propulsion, i.e. you move your legs up and down in the water with the tip of your toes. This technique is easy to learn as well as efficient.
How to Breathe Properly while Swimming Freestyle?
According to Alex Kostich, swimming champion, “Swimming is the only sport I can think of during which there are moments you are unable to breathe even if you want to.” This is quite accurate as you only have a few moments to inhale when your face is actually outside of the water. This means that in order to breathe properly you need to know the techniques. This is not as easy as you might think, even good swimmers suffer a disruption in their motion and body rhythm when they try to breathe.
Despite being one of the most common and easy to learn techniques, the inability to breathe properly could lead to problems like lowered stamina, reduction in speed and affect the ability to make out the direction you are swimming towards. If that continues for a long time there might be other issues such as muscle cramps.
To overcome this, one needs to master the proper breathing technique in freestyle swimming. Melvin “Pat” Patterson, a former collegiate swim coach at Texas A&M, Rice University, University of Arkansas and the University of Texas at Austin has described the proper breathing technique along with the mistakes that people usually make.
“They hold their breath and try to blow it all out when their head has surfaced,” he said. “You never, ever want to hold your breath,” he added further. It means that the correct way to breathe is to start breathing by slow exhales and increase it until you manage to exhale completely before your head rises above the surface.
List of Mistakes made while Breathing Along with Solutions
- Unable to get enough air
The solution to this problem is you shouldn’t just give up on holding your breath as your head goes underwater but also exhale completely before resurfacing for another breath.
- Losing momentum while taking a breath
The solution to this problem is to concentrate on holding your mouth parallel to the surface instead of above it.
- You end of sucking water as well
In such a situation you need to try bilateral breathing or try to improve your balance in water with the one arm technique. In this technique, you use one arm to swim while your head is turned in the other direction to breathe.
Competing in Freestyle Swimming
There are nine different events in freestyle swimming which take place in a 50-meter, long course or 25-meter, short course pool. In the US it is a common practice to use the shorter pool in winters and the larger one in winters.
These are nine events that take place in freestyle swimming.
50 m freestyle, 100 m freestyle, 200 m freestyle, 400 m freestyle, 800 m freestyle, 1500 m freestyle, 4×50 m freestyle relay, 4 × 100 m freestyle relay and, 4 × 200 m freestyle relay.
Rules and Regulations
Freestyle means any style except for the breaststroke, butterfly, or backstroke. The competition also specifies that the swimmer must touch the wall at the end of each lap as well as the end of the event as well. A swimmer must ensure that they have a section of their body above water at all the times after the first 15 meters.
How to Perform Perfect Freestyle Swimming?
So, you have learned how to perform freestyle swimming and the rules and regulations for the competitions. Now, it is time to master the technique of freestyle swimming. Here is a list of things that you need to concentrate on in order to improve your technique.
- Head position: The position of your body defines the effectiveness of your swim but, it this position of your head that controls the position of your body. In order to maintain the perfect position, you must relax your neck and upper-back muscles with your body parallel to the bottom of the pool and head cocked forward at 45 degrees.
- Forward reach: Ensure that with each stroke that you take, your arm is extended to the maximum length. It is a common practice among many swimmers that they place their hands just in front of their heads as they pull. The correct way to do so is by putting your hand in front as far as possible.
- Complete the stroke: It is not uncommon among the freestyle swimming experts to shorten the strokes. As the swimmers get tired, they pull their hands out of the water near their waist instead of the thighs. This not only reduces efficiency but you also require to perform a higher number of strokes per lap.
- Proper Kicking: It is highly beneficial to master the kicking as you propel yourself through the water. It is common for the swimmers to perform an improper kick which ends up slowing them down. The proper sprint flutter kick should fast in an up-down motion as you use alternate feet.
- Proper start and finish: Many swimmers don’t give much importance to their start and finish. It can drastically improve your results. So, even while practicing one should make sure that you streamline by holding your hands clasped behind your head. Finish by performing a strong stroke towards the wall instead of slowing down.
Also Check:- Swimming Strokes Types
So, if you are trying to participate in competitive freestyle swimming or going for a recreational swim, try to incorporate the above-mentioned tips and techniques one by one in order to master them. Once you learn how to use them properly, try to execute them together. This will not only make you swim faster and efficiently but also make you confident while participating in any competition. In case of any doubts or problems, always try to consult your coach. The guide could only provide you an idea about what might be wrong and how to improve it whereas the coach can pinpoint the problems and give you the perfect solution.