Freestyle is the stroke chosen by many swimmers in the aQuellé Midmar Mile. While it is the first stroke that most of us learn as children and often considered the “easiest” stroke to master, there is strategy to this stroke, and following the tips below can make your swim more enjoyable and your end result more impressive.
Maintain a straight line
Look straight downwards while swimming – looking forwards while your head is underwater will mean that you need to kick harder to compensate for the way your body is aligned. Focusing downward will also help to prevent dizziness which can be caused by continuously moving your head from side to side when you are not breathing. When you look up to breathe, make sure you check that you’re still heading in the right direction – this is called sighting.
Best breathing technique
Remember to take a breath after every second or third stroke. This will help you remain calm and ensure that you have enough air at all times. While your head is underwater, focus on remembering to exhale at a consistent rate. This will both conserve your energy and improve your stroke.
Ensure that with every stroke, your arm is extended to its full length, right from the shoulder. This will lead to maximum efficiency and minimum time in reaching the finish line. Conclude each arm stroke only when your thumb grazes your thigh.
Kicking off your personal best
Contrary to popular belief, the kick has little to do with propulsion and a lot more to do with accurate positioning of your body. Your kick needs to help you maintain a good body position by lifting your legs up while using the least possible amount of energy. Kicks should come from the hips — not the knees.