Connecting the arms, to the body is more easily done when the swimming maintains their extension a bit longer.
Why do it:
A catch-up style freestyle isn’t for everyone. Great sprinters don’t have time to wait for this type of stroke, while it’s more frequent in middle distance and distance swimmers. The important aspect to keep in mind when teaching developing swimmers, is to build the ability to choose this type of timing should the end up being a distance swimmer. It will require a mastery of the basics of balance.
How to do it:
1 – The thing to look for to determine if a swimmer has the catch-up timing, is their ability to have both hands in front of the shoulders at the same time.
2 – Our swimmer has a more extreme style of catch-up timing, and many swimmers won’t have both hands so far out in front.
3 – The benefit of this type of stroke is shown by how the pulling hand is being aided by the rotation of the body. When the body starts it’s rotation, it pulls the arm back. The body and the arm work in a uniform timing.
How to do it really well (the fine points):
A simple drill to help swimmers learn this is a slightly delayed Position 11 freestyle. This will require the lead arm remains out front during the pull and the breath.
The trickiest part of this type of freestyle, is making sure the lead arm stays out front during the breath. Maintain the long line while breathing, so the body and arm remain connected when the rotating and pull starts.
To repeat, this type of stroke isn’t meant for all swimmers, but all swimmers should know how to do this, so they can make a determination of it’s value as they begin to customize their stroke to a more race specific style later in their careers.