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Freestyle Swimming Tips – Getting Started and Perfecting Your Stroke

freestyle swimmingMost people learn to freestyle when they are first introduced to swimming. Many refer to this less structured stroke as the “crawl,” but the most simplistic term for it is “swimming on top of the water.” Once you go from a complete beginner in the water to a more serious swimmer, you start to identify the form as freestyle swimming.

When performing this stroke, you hold your body parallel to the bottom of the pool with your stomach facing down. Your front hairline or forehead rests on the surface of the water, with your face turned down into the water. As your feet kick and your arms stroke out above your head, your face turns to the side to grab a breath and then pushes back down into the water. This continues in a quick motion as you make your way across the water.


Freestyle swimming is seen all over the world in swimming pools, oceans, and lakes where the general public gathers for recreational swimming. This form is taught to children and adults in swimming lessons, and is considered one of the most basic swimming strokes.

Most people do not even realize that there is a proper form to freestyle or that there are ways to improve and perfect the stroke. You are a more serious swimmer (even if you are just starting), and you know better. The following tips will help you get the most out of every freestyle stroke:

  •  You should spend more time turned sideways than facing downward when freestyle swimming. Many beginners turn their heads, but not their bodies.
  •  You will get more effective movement from your body if you turn your head from one side to another, rather than turning to the same side with each stroke. Think of it as a side-to-side roll with one side of your body pointing down and the other side pointing up, and then rotating sides.
  •  Work with simple drills to improve your freestyle swimming speed. Once you get the form down, speed is really what matters with this stroke.

Practice makes perfect with all forms of swimming. Learning to slide or roll the body from side to side in a concise manner is the most important skill to master in freestyle swimming.



2 Responses to “Freestyle Swimming Tips – Getting Started and Perfecting Your Stroke”

  1. Alicia91b says:

    So basically I was doing everything wrong. I was mainly facing downward when swimming freestyle and I don’t think I ever thought about turning my body when I turn my head to breathe. I also turn my head to only one side and I thought that was the correct way to swimming freestyle. Then it’s no wonder I’m slower than most other girls and also why I can’t seem to swim a great distance. I’ll be trying out the new tricks this weekend when I go swimming.

  2. Levi says:

    It looks like everyone’s able to do freestyle swimming to some degree, but for me the only that I can do in the water is to float on my back and kick my feet to accelerate. In other words, I suck at swimming. Practice does make perfect, but I’m afraid I’ll need some lessons from real swimming teachers before I start practicing on my own. What a shame.. 20 years old and I still can’t swim..

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