The key to success in the pool with any stroke is first to learn to swim efficiently.
Then you can think about increasing your speed. To swim efficiently you have to both maximize propulsion and maintain the
momentum you have generated. This section is about maximizing propulsion for the front crawl / freestyle.
If you’ve ever wondered which is your main source of
power in the front crawl, your arms or your legs, all you have to do is time yourself for one
length of kicking-only as fast as you can and one length of pulling-only as
fast as you can.
You’ll soon realize that your arms are far more
effective. Infact, if you did your one length in an Olympic 50m pool you
probably found that your legs fatigued well before you finished.
Watch top swimmers doing a distance event like the
1500m freestyle and you’ll see that some of them hardly kick down the length.
front crawl the legs are used for acceleration off the wall, balancing the
body in the correct position and the sprint home when the arms no longer
have any strength left.
Ever heard the commentator say – “oh no, he’s gone to his legs already”?
So if you want to swim more efficiently the place
to start concentrating is the arm pull. The next question is - which
is best, long strokes slowly or short strokes quickly? The real answer is
of course long strokes quickly, but the key part is the long stroke.
Imagine you are hauling in a rope. It doesn’t take long to work out that
the most efficient way to do it is to reach as far forward as you can each
time you swap to the new hand.