The freestyle is the oldest method of moving forward through the water after styles similar to the breaststroke; Roman warriors used to prepare for battle by performing swimming exercises very similar to the modern-day freestyle stroke: an alternating arm movement accompanied by a constant leg kick.
You must keep your body as straight as possible “with your belly downwards”, so as to create as little drag as possible as you move forward.
The surface of the water should roughly coincide with your hairline, keep your head down looking at the bottom of the pool just a few metres in front of your body. The more often you raise your head to see where you are going, the greater the drag and slower your speed.
The leg kick helps stabilise your body and ensure good buoyancy rather than forward motion. The legs kick up and down alternately with your knees bent. As you breathe, your legs push sideways to counteract the negative effect on your body alignment of the arm recovery phase. Coordinating your arms and legs is important: we recommend 6 leg kicks for each set of arm strokes.
Your arms “rotate” alternately in a three-phase movement:
- Catch: your hand should enter the water at an angle of 45° extending it as far forward as possible.
- Pull: after bending your elbow to an angle of approximately 90° to push it downwards, pull backwards in order to move forwards.
- Recovery: having completed the pull phase, bend your elbow so as to raise your arm out of the water ready to move it forwards again.
Breathe to the side by rotating your head every 2 or more strokes.
The freestyle should allow you to move through the water with less effort and more speed: in a nutshell, more bang for your buck!