FREESTYLE – Slide Stroke

If you�ve ever visited your local pool during open swim, you�ll see a lot of normally calm, well-mannered people thrashing and crashing their way from one side of the pool to the other. They don�t intend to look so aggressive and physical, it�s just that they�re doing what feels instinctual. And their swimming goals are probably much different from yours. Here�s a drill that helps you fight the instinct to thrash and beat the water into submission. It will help smooth out your stroke, and let you discover the feeling of flow while swimming freestyle.

WHY DO IT:

Slide Stroke imprints a compact, relaxed, smooth, and low recovery, but also introduces feelings of acceleration and power while sneaking your body through the water.
DESCRIBE THE IMAGEHOW TO DO IT:

Let’s roll the tape (uh… click the video clip above)

1. Start by flutter kicking on your side (almost on your back for some of you), with eyes looking straight up at the ceiling. Extend the arm that�s deepest in the water, and allow your top arm to relax and rest on your hip.

2. Rotate your head, torso, and hips until you�re on your side, with your top shoulder pointed straight up toward the ceiling. Look at the bottom, but be careful not to roll onto your stomach.
3. Once you feel comfortable on your side, slide your trailing arm up along your belly and past your face. Try to keep your elbow under water.
4. As soon as you see your hand in front of your face, extend that hand all the way out in front, pull the other hand back, and rotate your entire body IMMEDIATELY to the breathing position on the other side.

5. Take 2 or 3 deep breaths and then repeat the drill in the other direction.

HOW TO DO IT REALLY WELL (THE FINE POINTS):

1. When you rotate onto your side, pause for a second and check yourself. Is your top arm relaxed and resting on your hip�or is it tense and bent and ready to thrash?

2. Are you as LOOONG as you can be? Try to feel your cheek pressed RIGHT up against your shoulder. Keep your body in a tight line with your arm extending forward. This ensures you�ll get maximum range and power from your pull.

3. Wait until you see your hand passing your face before you do ANYTHING with the lead hand. As your body starts to fall over, you�ll see that it�s the BODY that pulls back the hand � not the HAND that pulls the body forward. If you try to muscle through the pull, you�ll feel your body BOUNCING up and down. This means you�re trying to pull too hard, and actually LIFTING your body out of the water. Make sure you�re focusing on sending your body forward, NOT up.

4. Most swimmers want to peek forward and will POP up when they roll to get air. Keep looking down, and rotate around with your face UNDER water. This ensures you�ll send your energy FORWARD, not up. If you are long and horizontal and patient when you rotate, you�ll find plenty of air.

5. Take AT LEAST 2 breaths before you start another cycle. This way you�ll have plenty of air and will be able to take your time and FEEL what�s going on when you do the drill.