Finding the sensation of falling forward in freestyle can be difficult. The mind is often uncomfortable giving in to feeling this way, mostly because the air feels so much further away. In a recent lesson at the Discovery Aquatics Studio, we explored the impact of the recovery arm shape, position and tempo on the feeling of falling forward and how this affected speed and ease.

The image below, from the beginning of the lesson shows a flattened, hand led recovery motion. This shape requires more muscular energy to hold and move forward. The position of the elbow tilted backwards is contributing to the drop in the hips and legs as seen in the underwater view.


Flat recovery results in a less hydrodynamic profile.

By simply making the recovery wider, with greater height from the elbow, the stroke became faster, with less energy expended and visually a much more hydrodynamic profile as seen below.


Width and height in the recovery results in better body alignment.

The swimmer was amazed at how he felt like he was falling forward and even more amazed that it resulted in a faster pace with less energy needed. ‘Is that really me?’ he said watching his improvements toward the end of the lesson. Well done!

Now the key is to keep practicing to ingrain the movement pattern. Fresh Freestyle has many practices that focus on recovery. Some favorites are Practice 17 from Coach Celeste, Practice 43 from Coach Dinah and Practice 77 from Coach Suzanne. Check them out and compare how you swim to the images in the book. Like this:


Use Fresh Freestyle images to compare your movements.

Keep it Fresh, Keep it Fast,

Coach Dinah

Discovery Aquatics