A good technique when swimming is key to helping you go further and faster. There’s nothing more frustrating than giving 100% just to find yourself slower and more exhausted than the swimmer effortlessly overtaking you in the next lane. Perfecting your stroke technique will help to make sure that every movement you make has the maximum impact needed to improve your time and distance.

Front Crawl, also known as Freestyle, is typically referred to as the fastest and most efficient stroke. It’s an efficient freestyle stroke that you can burn up to 600 calories per hour doing, whilst giving your body a great low-impact workout.

Here are some top tips from Simone Benhayon on perfecting your front crawl swimming technique:


The aim of front crawl is to stay as streamlined as possible. The greater the streamlining, the less drag you will experience as you move through the water. Try to focus on creating the least amount of resistance possible as you move through the water. Concentrate on keeping your legs elevated through use of your core muscles. And, aim for a clean hand entry, with your hand in line with the midpoint between the centre line of your head and your shoulder line.

Continuous smooth movement

During the stroke your upper body will be working hard, predominantly using your triceps and lats to support your movement. It is important to keep the arm action continuous to achieve a good rhythm and the least amount of stress on shoulder joints.

Arm and hand position

Your arm position at all times during front crawl is key in achieving an efficient stroke. Upon entry to the water, your elbow should be slightly bent and higher than your hand, with your hand reaching forward to enter the water. The further you reach forward on top of the water the greater distance you have for your pull back through the water, resulting in greater propulsion. Try and ensure that the recovery of your arm is relaxed with a high elbow and the fingers remaining close to the water’s surface.

Propulsion – catch and pull


To achieve optimum propulsion in front crawl you first need to achieve a good ‘catch’. The ‘catch’ is the point when you take hold of the water just before you execute your pull. If you don’t achieve a good catch, your hand will slip effortlessly through the water resulting in poor propulsion. A great way to practice getting your catch just right is to use hand paddles or aquamits. These turn your hand into a ‘scoop’, allowing you to feel the resistance or slip of a good or bad catch. Once you’ve mastered your catch, you then need to focus on your pull. Your hand will need to change direction under the water, sweeping in and back towards the centreline under your body – leading to your elbow exiting first.

The kick

In front crawl the leg action comes from the hips and uses the whole leg. Focus on achieving a regular alternating action. It is best if your knees are very slightly bent, with toes pointed but not over-tensed as you kick – and your ankles should be relaxed. If you can achieve this, it will support a nice, smooth stroke through the water.


Whatever you call it, Freestyle or Front Crawl, it is a naturally graceful and relaxed stroke. You don’t need to fight the water to get a work out and if you can learn to relax, you may just find that you can achieve a faster, more efficient stroke too.

Enjoy swimming at your local David Lloyd Club

Ready to improve your swimming stroke? At David Lloyd Clubs we have indoor and outdoor swimming pools, plus expert coaches who will be able to help you improve. To find your local club and enquire about joining, find your local club here.

This article was written by Zoggs.