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Freestyle – Water Polo Wide Catch

If you have a tendency to let your hands cross over in front of your face in freestyle, this drill could be just the fix.  We saw this drill demonstrated in the Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen DVD, but it came up again recently when working with a young swimmer whose background was water polo.


Why Do It:
Keeping your extension directly forward rather than crossing over will get you to the proper catch position sooner, and with less stress on your shoulders.

How to Do It:
1,  Start by swimming freestyle with your head out of the water.
2,  Keep your turnover a bit quicker than normal, and make sure you’re keeping your head up.
3.  You should be able to not only feel, but also see your arms reaching directly forward in front of your shoulders.
4.  About half way down the pool, lower your head into the water and complete the rest of the length without breathing.
5.  Focus your attention on maintaining the straight, wide-arm hand entry and extension, pushing the hand forward directly in front of the shoulder.

How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
As you lower your head into the water, experiement with how far.  Sometimes crossing over comes from a desire to support the body.  If balance is taken care of, it should be easier.  You may also realize that once you’ve lowered your head, your rate of turnover, or cadence can be reduced as the line of your extension is now much cleaner.