Mastering Your Timing in Freestyle
Mastering Your Timing in Freestyle
Learn breathing, kicking, and arm stroke techniques
Have you ever struggled to master your timing in freestyle? Understanding your timing and movements in unison will help you create a powerful swim stroke and make you a stronger swimmer. Often times, swimmers try to swim faster with little focus on skills such as breathing, kicking, and arm strokes. According to our interview with swim Olympian Rowdy Gaines, most of these areas can be brought back to the basics of posture, line, and balance. If you’re looking for more guidance on how to improve your swimming technique, continue reading to discover the best practices for timing your freestyle movements.
Sometimes, swimmers become unaware of their breathing technique because it seems so natural. Although it may be the last thing on your mind when you swim, poor breathing technique can actually throw off your kicking and stroke movements too! So, it’s definitely important to be aware and time your breaths carefully.
First, watch when your hand enters the water at the start of a turn. When it’s on the opposite side, turn your head to breathe. Or, you can remember it as the “one goggle in and one goggle out” method—make sure to inhale at the peak of your head rotation, this way, you’ll decrease the chances of fatigue early on allowing you to maintain your stamina throughout the length of your swim.
Breathing technique can also affect your kicking patterns. So, once you’ve got your breathing pattern down, it’s time to fine-tune your kicks. Powerful kicks reinforced with properly timed breaths lead to a more energy-efficient swim.
One important rule is that a downward kick should match the time it takes for the opposite arm to extend into the water. Think of it as if you were jogging or walking—one leg swings forward as the opposite arm swings forward to help balance yourself. This will help with full body rotation and driving momentum forward.
If you’re looking for somewhere to start, a common pattern for beginner swimmers is known as the six-beat kick or the “swimming waltz”: one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three. The goal is for you to have six kicks per stroke cycle. For advanced swimmers, you can check out the four-beat kick and the two-beat kick for faster timing.
Another quick tip is to keep your kicks below the surface and your ankles flexible—never point your toes, this will help keep your movements controlled and in sync.
While your legs are a vital part of your swimming routine let’s not forget about your arms! It’s important to remember that no body part is mutually exclusive and when utilized together, makes you a more powerful swimmer. As we discussed earlier, using your arms as a guide will help aid the timing and rotation with the rest of your body. When your hand reaches forward to enter the water, try to take your time and analyze how you roll out onto your side.
Aligning your arms with your core and your legs should help you get into a position that feels relaxed and stable for the entirety of your swim. If you want to learn more about making sure your strokes are streamlined with the rest of the body, check out our post about posture, line, and balance techniques.
Remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t lose confidence if your strokes and timing are still off. For more tips, we recommend reading our blog post about habits for highly efficient swimmers!
SwimMirror: Your #1 Swim Tracking Tool
Ready to freestyle? Include SwimMirror as your essential swimming tool to improve freestyle strokes and techniques effectively!
Curious how the SwimMirror can make swim training worthwhile? Read our blog post here!
Ready to Purchase SwimMirror Today?
Or get SwimMirror at your favorite retailer below.