Freestyle is also known as Front Crawl and is typically referred to as the fastest and most efficient stroke of them all.
Without making things too technical, an efficient freestyle stroke will enable you to burn up to 600 calories per hour whilst giving your body a great workout.
When perfecting your freestyle stroke, there are some simple pointers that will help.
The aim of the stroke is to stay as streamlined as possible. The greater the streamlining, the smoother your movement will be through the water. When swimming, try and focus on creating the least amount of resistance possible as you move through the water.
With regard to your upper body, you will be using predominantly your triceps and lats to support your movement. The rotation with the arms is very easy on the joints. It is important to keep the arm action continuous.
To achieve that streamlined position mentioned earlier, make sure that the entry point for your arm is between the centre line of your head and your shoulder line.
Your elbow should be slightly bent with your elbow higher than your hand with your hand then reaching forward. The further your reach forward on top of the water the greater your pull back will be through the water, resulting in greater propulsion.
Propulsion is the key with front crawl and to truly benefit from this action you need to bring in a 3 sweeps down – Your hand will change direction under the water and sweep in and back towards the centerline under your body – leading to your elbow exiting first. The following video will help to explain this movement in greater detail.
Try and make sure that the recovery of your arm is relaxed with a high elbow and with the fingers remaining close to the surface.
The leg action comes from the hips. Focus on an alternating action. It is best if your knees are slightly bent, with pointed toes as you kick. If you can achieve this it will support a nice, smooth stroke through the water.
Whatever you call it, Freestyle or Front Crawl, it is a naturally graceful and relaxed stroke. You don’t need to fight the water to get a work out.