How to improve your swimming technique

June 3, 2021

The swimmer faces a difficult task - to achieve the maximum result. Success depends on many things: the strategy of sports training, the definition of means and methods, the rational construction of loads, regular monitoring of the condition, the search for options for improving the technique.

The current level of sports swimming is high. You have to modify an individual technique that is optimal for your capabilities.

Swimming freestyle or chest crawl is the fastest of the four competitive styles. Let's talk about how to improve freestyle swimming technique.

Unique features:

  • swims at a distance of 400 meters or more;
  • the swimmer's face is submerged in the water while stroking;
  • he athlete breathes low above the water surface;

Proper breathing is the first thing worthy of your attention if you wonder how to do freestyle swimming technique. The swimmer's head is constantly underwater, and they inhale very close to its surface. Exhale!

Some sprinters swim half the length of the pool, and even more, by taking a single breath. It is profitable at the beginning of the distance, but the advantage depends on the training. The more you practice, the longer you can hold it during the competition. Breath when the hand enters the water with the brush. The breath is carried out from under the arm, through the air. Watch out your head. If it "accompanies" the hand for too long, the shoulders movement can disrupt the body position. It is better to inhale through the mouth and exhale through the mouth and nose. The top of the head should be pointed forward, not the forehead. The right turn keeps the balance, and the wrong one negatively affects the speed. Keep your head close to the surface of the water. A high rise provokes excessive body lifting, the legs begin to sink, and the water resistance increases.

Body position. The legs, hips, and feet are in the same straight line. The shoulders are located higher than the pelvis.

Causes of incorrect body position:

  • breath delay underwater;
  • high head position when inhaling;
  • kick from the knee;
  • weak kick;
  • pushing water down;
  • insufficient flexibility of the hip joint.

Footwork. How to swim kicking technique?

How to swim kicking technique?

Keep your feet close to the water surface, you can use a six-stroke way. For a full cycle of hand movements, the legs perform six strokes, three each. With this technique, footwork provides about 10-15% of the progress, and the remaining 85-90% is accounted for by hand strokes.

A good strike technique doesn't come from the knee but the hip; the knee remains free, relaxed, slightly bent during the movement. Strikes with straight legs are less energy-consuming.

Turn your feet inwards so that your big toes rub against each other. Beginners, on the contrary, turn them outwards, and this creates additional resistance.

In the first phase, the movement is performed with a straight leg until it reaches a horizontal position. At this point, the thigh muscles are calm, and the buttocks are working.

The second phase is a change in the hip direction. They stop, and then the knee begins to descend. In this phase, the leg muscles are resting, preparing for movement.

How to perfect freestyle swimming technique by strokes?

perfect freestyle swimming technique by strokes

Swimmer should strive for a natural movement of the hands, a confident stroke. The hand is vigorously placed in front of the swimmer's head, performing a long and powerful stroke. It remains straight at the elbow. You can't lose control. The shoulders should not be tense.

Watch out for the brush input. Swimmers who started with middle-and long-distance swimming and did not have enough shoulder strength often switch to sprinting. Sprint swimming requires rhythm.

World-class sprinters don't do as much stroking as they might seem at first glance. Understanding begins when we relate the frequency of strokes to their power. The entry into the water affects the technique and reduces the likelihood of injury to the shoulder. Unfortunately, many sprinters prefer to slap them on the water. Remember! First the fingers, then the hand, then the rest of it. It should be deep, with immediate flexion at the elbow joint.

Catch and repel. Here, 85 to 100% of the body's progress occurs. Feel the water and interact with it, directing your efforts in the direction opposite to the movement. The pressure creates a counter-force, which moves the swimmer in the water.

Start. Sprinters usually have a great starting reaction. It depends on many things: the slide length after jump, footwork, and stroke combination. The main goal is speed. The first point is the starting position, which is the same when swimming crawl, breaststroke, and butterfly.

There is a starting position in which the arms are pulled back, or stretched out. It depends on your personal choice.

In recent years, the strongest swimmers in the world have used the "start with a grab". They lean over and hold on to the edge. The feet are shoulder-width apart. The weight is balanced.

Turn. A good turn is obtained only when it combines a sense of balance, rhythm, and self-confidence. It should be fast and economical in terms of energy consumption. The main advantage of a somersault over other turns is that it does not require touching the wall, stopping, and pushing off but is performed mainly by changing the speed.

We hope that now you understand what is freestyle or front crawl swimming technique, and how you can improve it. And we continue with how to do breaststroke swimming technique.

It just seems that swimming "frog-like" is easy. Breaststroke is considered the most difficult swimming style in terms of technical performance. Do you want to master this beautiful and powerful style and find out how to swim the kicking technique? Follow these rules.

1. If you want to swim breaststroke well – you must swim it

A lot of swimmers forget about this simple and obvious rule. We all know it is like following a breaststroker – slowly, trying to overtake them. This is one of the reasons why swimmers rarely swim breaststroke at training. Then they wonder – why is there no progress in breaststroke?

Do you remember how often you dedicate your training to breaststroke? And this is a warm-up breaststroke, footwork, rowing, various exercises for this style, working out the start, turns, and finish of the breaststroke. Many breaststrokers do a warm-up and then train in

freestyle. Try 2-3 workouts a week to fully devote yourself to this beautiful style, and you will notice the progress very quickly.

2. Form

There are as many theories about the perfect breaststroke technique as there are athletes who swim it. Don't think too much about the stroke, but your form.

There are three keys shapes:

  • The torpedo: after the stroke, the arms are extended, the legs are together. Although you can hold this form only a fraction of a second, you need to force yourself to take it after each stroke.
  • The cobra: After the "torpedo shape", your body should become a "cobra". Legs are stretched out, and your arms make a semicircular movement to your chest.
  • The frog: immediately after the "cobra" comes the "frog". Your feet are pulled up close to your buttocks. While they are turned in different directions so that your toes point to the opposite sides of the pool. Your hands are under your chest or chin. The chest, thighs, and knees form a slightly curved figure.

3. Don't get hung up on the perfect stroke technique

Master basic technique of breaststroke, get used to it. Transfer this habit to swimming at high speed, and control psychological pressure at competitions. Once you have achieved this – leave the technique alone!

 A disease called the Perfect Technique Syndrome attacks some coaches and athletes. They spend a lot of time and effort: they constantly adjust the time of the stroke to the push of the foot, calculate the angle, the width of the push.

4. Length and strength

Once you have a proper understanding of the forms and can apply them, concentrate on long and powerful strokes.

"The torpedo and frog", allows you to overcome the maximum distance. This happens because the impulse is given to the body when it experiences minimal water resistance.

5. Head movements

This rule applies to all swimming styles. If you move your head up and down too often during breaststroke swimming, your body will create too much resistance, so your speed will be lower.

Forward, not up and down. That is, when you take a breath, you bring your chin forward and not raise your head. At the same time, the movement of the head should be minimal, no more than 7-13 centimeters.

Whether breaststroke is the best swimming style is up to you. It strengthens your health, brings pleasure and gold medals.

It requires sophistication and softness. Only the best can swim it well.

How to improve butterfly swimming technique?

The butterfly, which has captivated both coaches, swimmers, and spectators alike, is the most tricky form of swimming in the current competitive repertoire. The combination of strength and elegance in it intimidates even the most experienced competitor. How to improve this swimming technique?

For many years, the coaches were focused on the undulating movement. Although this method helps young swimmers overcome physical weakness, it creates resistance and effort during the stroke. The researchers found that keeping the body in an almost flat position on the surface eliminates negative forces and makes the stroke more effective. The swimmer  keeps his head in a neutral position; the neck is long and flat. The lift of the chin during inhalation is minimal. There should be no diving upside down after the inhale is made. During the stroke, a smooth wave-like movement of the body is performed but with a very narrow amplitude.

The best swimmers in the world perform a stroke with straight arms, not with bent ones. The reason: the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. By keeping the arms low and directly above the water surface, the swimmer can move the arms forward with maximum efficiency and minimal disruption. This technique ensures fast and synchronous movement.

As with other swimming styles, we would like to break down the butterfly into separate components so that our swimmers can focus on one part. It is complicated because of the continuous nature of the style. A few exercises can help swimmers catch the feel and

synchronicity of the butterfly.


Swimmers move in the water using their hands on both sides of the body. The eyes look down at the bottom. They keep their hands at their sides and propel themselves forward, manipulating only the chest and torso. Kicks are not allowed. Swimmers begin the movement by pushing their chest and shoulders down and forward. If they need to take a breath, they raise their chin and immediately return to the neutral position. They can perform this exercise with the arms outstretched and light rotational movements of the palms.

Underwater Butterfly

It increases the temporal coordination of the hand stroke with the kicking legs movements. The swimmer pushes off underwater and does three or four butterfly cycles. After the swimmer has mastered the technique, they perform this exercise at different speeds.

Side Kick

The swimmer performs this exercise on their side with an outstretched arm. You need to put your ear on your shoulder so that you can easily inhale if necessary. To emphasize the movement of the body, the swimmer should reduce the rotational movements of the palm. The upper arm is on the side, pressed against the body. The swimmer starts moving from the chest to the feet. It should be continuous, and the swimmer should feel the water pressure. Swimmers should vary the amplitude of the strokes during this exercise. 

Watching the dolphins, we are surprised at the lightness, and grace of these amazing creatures. The beauty and effectiveness of the technique depend on the strength and your desire. Work for the result and enjoy what you do.

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