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Freestyle Swimming Technique for Beginners

Here's the Proper Technique for Swimming the Perfect Freestyle Stroke

Out of the four primary swimming strokes, freestyle is the fastest and easiest to learn. Read the SportsAspire article to understand its proper technique, and a few drills to improve your speed in the water.
SportsAspire Staff
Last Updated: Mar 7, 2018
The Proper Technique
  • Stand inside the swimming pool, and try to imagine that a straight line is running down the middle of your body.
  • This middle line from your chin to the chest works as an axis; your entire body will pivot according to this line.
  • When you are swimming, your legs should be straight, toes pointed out, and kick your legs up and down. But make sure you don't make the legs stiff while swimming.
  • As for the arms, they should work like a windmill. This means, when one arm is out of the water, the other should be inside.
  • While extending the left hand out, stretching it straight up, your right hand should be underneath you, pulling water and pushing your ahead.
  • Your hands should be flat, with the thumb and index finger apart from one another. When the right hand in under water, you should slightly bend your elbow and finish the stroke.
  • Once your right hand comes out of the water, the left hand should take its place in the water. Again the same stroke is done by the left hand; hence finishing one entire stroke.
  • There are specific breathing techniques for swimming which should be followed. During the strokes, breath by turning your head to the right or left (your choice) once the right or left hand comes out of the water. Turn your head to the right if the right hand comes up, and to the left if the left hand comes up.
Swimming Drills to Improve Your Speed
Isolated Arm
  • Keep the right or left arm apart (isolated from the body)
  • Swim but 1 arm is fixed
  • Keep fixed arm straight, ahead of you
  • Use other hand to swim
  • Once the other arm finishes 1 stroke, fixed arm begins a stroke
  • Alternate both arms to become fixed
Thumb and Thigh
  • As you swim, start with thumbs by your thighs
  • Lift right hand out of water for the stroke
  • Pull left hand under water, keep elbows in water
  • Extend left hand from elbow, still in water
  • Once hand is straight, bring it out of water
  • Follow the steps for right hand also
¾ Isolated Arm
  • Similar to isolated arm, swim freestyle
  • But fixed arm will move before the other arm comes out
  • Start 2nd stroke at ¾ way of 1st stroke
Close that Fist
  • Start swimming, but with fists closed
  • At first, you won't feel moving forward
  • With clenched fist, try the under water pull
  • Complete entire strokes like thumb and thigh
Isolated Arm with Kickboard
  • Similar to isolated arm, swim freestyle
  • Hold kickboard in left hand first and right hand is doing the stroke
  • When right hand comes out of water, take the kickboard
  • Now kickboard is in right hand and left hand is doing the stroke
  • Keep alternating the board between both hands
Balance and Turn
  • Swim but with 1 arm
  • Start with right hand, breathe from your right side
  • Left hand is close to your side
  • Swim with right hand, but now breathe from left
  • Bring left hand on your side
  • Now swim with left hand, breathe from your left side
  • Right hand is close to your side
  • Swim with left hand, but now breathe from right
  • Bring right hand on your side
Drag your Fingers
  • Swim but fingertips don't leave water when arm is moving
  • Always drag your fingers when arms come forward
  • Point elbows upward and breathe normally
  • Along with fingertips, keep wrist in water for variation

Follow the techniques you feel comfortable with at first, and once you start getting momentum, take one step closer to being a pro.
Taking a deep breath