A few of us are breathing late or slow.
A High Elbow V Elbow Led Recover
If you asked 100 people what is important in an effective freestyle stroke, more than anything else they would say “high elbows”, referring to a classical high elbow arm recovery over the water:
This style of arm recovery is used by many swimming greats such as Michael Phelps, Ian Thorpe and Rebecca Adlington (shown above). But is it the only way to recover effectively over the water?
Actually no, many other great swimmers recover with a straighter arm, opening up slightly at the elbow to bring the hand much higher:
Users of this style include great athletes such as the Brownlee brothers, Richard Varga (above), Michael Klim and Sharon van Rouwendaal.
This works well in open water because it keeps the hand well clear of waves, chop and other swimmers in close proximity. However it is also frequently used by pool swimmers too – especially if it feels natural and “right” to them.
So if keeping the elbow as the highest point isn’t the key to an effective arm recovery, what is? We would say that it’s actually about *leading* with the elbow. Watch this short extract from a recent Swim Smooth Video Analysisby Paul Newsome to find out more:
As Paul discusses, fundamentally we are looking for the elbow to lead the arms recovery. Here’s Olympic Gold Medallist Sharon van Rouwendaal showing this in action:
The problem comes if you start to lead with your hand before your elbow:
This is symptomatic of swimming flat in the water with not enough body rotation or roll in the stroke.
We can clearly see this below with Coach Cyndy demonstrating. First Cyndy is flat with no rotation in the body; we can see how the arm recovery has to be awkward and round the side with the arm leading:
But with good rotation the arm carries much easily over the surface, elbow led:
As Paul mentioned in the video, a Finis Tech Toc is a great tool to help you develop more rotation in your stroke which will give you a much more relaxed elbow-led recovery:
FC CATCH CHLOE SUTTON
Also Breathing FC ( Late Breathing etc)
Please see advice from Coach Davy in relation to the difference between your freestyle and breaststroke starts.