FREESTYLE – Short Release

One of the most frequently asked questions about freestyle is: "Where do I finish my pull?" This week’s drill – Short Release — begins to teach the range of release points for the finish of the stroke.

Figuring out exactly which spot to finish your stroke is an individual aspect of swimming. Swimmers who are very powerful sometimes find it advantageous to push WAY through the stroke, to the mid-point of the thigh. We featured this type of release in a drill called "Extended Release." Other swimmers need to develop more of an easy, rhythmic stroke that uses LESS power from the arms, and relies on the body to do most of the work. This is where Short Release comes in.

Those of you who own the "Go Swim Freestyle & Backstroke Drills DVD, or the Drill-of-the-Week Collection #1 will already be familiar with this drill.

Release point variationsWhy Do It:
If you finish your freestyle the exact same way every time, there’s a chance that you’re missing something. In order to experiment to find your optimal release point, based on your phisiology and swimming goals, you should vary the release point in practice to discover the perfect spot for you.

How To Do It:

1. Drills don’t get much easier than this. Swim regular freestyle, just finish your stroke a bit early.

2. If you want a mental cue, as you finish your stroke, imagine that you are initiating the recovery with your elbow, rather than pushing all the way through with your hand.

3. Make sure you maintain full extension at the front of your stroke. Just because you’re shortening the stroke in back, don’t shorten the stroke in the front.

How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):

Vary it. Experiment with it. Don’t try it just for a few strokes, but try it for several sets and on several different days. Focus on the rotation of your body, and allow the arms to hook in, and go for a ride.

Alternate laps of Short Release with laps of Extended Release, then slowly, bring the spot together to discover what feels the best, and gives you the best results.

This drill is also beneficial if you want to change your cadence or speed in the middle of a length. The other way to increase, or change, your pace is to pull harder. But if you let go a bit in the back, allowing you to develop a quicker cadence, and then add the stroke length back in at the higher rate, sometimes it doesn’t take as much energy.

Experimentation is the key.