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Perfecting your swimming stroke

If you’re jumping into the pool after work every day to get fit rather than just to cool down, floating on your back and occasionally splashing the kids isn’t going to cut it – you’re going to have to do some laps. We’ve put together some freestyle and breaststroke tips to help you make sure you’re getting these strokes right. Avoiding incorrect body alignment and poor form will enable your body to make the most of its workout AND prevent injuries.

When it comes to freestyle, the first thing to ensure is that your body stays as flat as possible. Try to make sure neither your torso nor your legs ever start to sink below the surface of the water.

With each slice into the water, stretch your arm out as far in front of you as you can without straining your shoulder muscles. The more water you pull behind you, the further you’ll get.

The freestyle kick should come from your thighs – not your calves. This will give you a more powerful motion that will help propel you through the water faster. Don’t put too much energy into the kick though – in freestyle at least three quarters of the work is done by your upper body.

The last important thing to remember about freestyle is your breathing pattern. You need to inhale on every second or third stroke and blow bubbles gently and consistently while your head is under the water. Holding the air in your lungs will make you out of breath faster.

Freestyle is the stroke most used by open water swimmers, and for good reason. It’s efficient, fun and relatively easy to get right. 

Contribution by Steph