Swim Tips #4

Swim Tip #4 – Drive your arm deeper.

 The vast majority of swimmers, even relatively good ones begin their stroke with their hands too shallow. With the hand at or too close to the waters surface any downward stroking pressure forces the swimmers body out of the ideal horizontal position thus creating heaps of drag. The resulting solid feel of such downward pressure from the hand / arm often feels strong, as if really getting a good grip on the water but it is hard work and highly ineffective. Perhaps worse still if the swimmer drives themselves forwards into a position with the hand near the surface the whole body follows into an “uphill” position before the stroke has even begun. This very common stroke fault is also one of the most likely causes of shoulder pain / injury in swimming.

The picture above shows the ideal position for your hand / arm at the beginning of the Freestyle stroke. The key point here is that the swimmers hand is at a depth of approximately 30 cm, which is a little lower than the shoulder. This allows the swimmer to get their hand and forearm facing rearwards earlier in the stroke thus eliminating too much downward pressure (drag). It also means that as they drive themselves forwards spearing a hole in the water the deeper hand and arm position will encourage their body to stay in a level position. This feels easier as the swimmer strokes and takes heaps of work away from the arms and shoulders putting the load where it belongs, in the torso (core).



Aim to drive your hand forwards (using your whole body) directly in front of your shoulder and just a little bit deeper… Spear the water!

30 cm (a standard ruler) beneath the surface is a good guide to hand depth!!!

When breathing aim to keep your lead hand deep… Avoid leaning on it by extending your body length.


Wishing you all many hours of swimming enjoyment in 2015!


Oneflow Coaching