With all the talk of "straight-arm" freestyle, some may think a high-elbow recovery is a thing of the past. The majority of swimmers, however, will still use this beautiful standard as the way to swim.
Why Do It:
By swimming freestyle when totally submerged, you’ll quickly identify the most direct line from the finish point of the pull (the exit point if you were on the surface) to the beginning of the pull (the catch). If you’re sweeping too far out… or swinging up… it’s going to become evident during this drill.
How to Do It:
1. Push off deep under water. While you don’t have to be quite so deep as a couple of our swimmers, it is necessary for you to be far enough under water that you don’t create any ripples on the surface.
2. Start swimming freestyle, making sure you have an "overhand" or "above the body" recovery. You may feel better sneaking your hand under your armpit, but you want to imitate a normal recovery on this drill.
3. Keep the recovery narrow and close to your body… and feel the water fighting you during the recovery.
4. You’ll also quickly realize that you have to maintain a consistent kick while you do this drill.
5. Stay under for as long as you can, then alternate with some laps of regular freestyle, trying to capture the same movement.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Make sure you’re not pushing your elbow too high over your head. Keep looking down toward the bottom if for no other reason than to keep you under the surface. See how soon you can get your hands into a piercing or slicing position during the recovery to prepare for the extension to come.