A common error we see while observing swimmers whether our coached athletes or those completing laps in the pool is the cross over. Many swimmers swim with their arms crossing over their mid-line under water causing them to lose speed, lose momentum, and to sink. This wastes so much energy and with some focus, we often can correct this error. In experienced swimmers, we often see this late in a workout when they get tired, so here’s how to avoid it.
First correction – With a 24-30” piece of PVC pipe (1” diameter max) or a long swim snorkel (minus the head portion) swim catch up drill with the head face down and a long neck. Each time your hand enters the water the target is the end of the snorkel/pipe. People are often amazed and feel like their arms are 4’ out to the side! Practice 3 x 25 yards with the tool, then complete 25 yards without it. Did it feel the same? Dial in to what it feels like with the pipe, then channel that “feeling” into the 25 yards without the pipe. Tune in only to this one piece of your stroke while working this technique.
Second correction – Tarzan Drill – Swim with your head out of the water and watch where your hand is entering the water each time. Complete 25 yards of Tarzan Drill and then 25 yards of regular free style while wearing a swim snorkel. This is the only time we recommend having your head angled such that you are looking ahead. Watch your hand enter the water, then keep it about one fist length wider than your shoulder as you complete the entry. If you notice yourself crossing over, then correct it with the next stroke.
We have a lot more corrections and drills to address this issue, and we have found that Underwater VideoTaping with Immediate Playback for the swimmer is our most effective tool to show what’s happening, (especially after the athlete describes what they “feel” which is so important!). Our proprioception is so often off in the water, and by knowing how it feels, what it looks like, and coming up with what it “should” feel like, we can make immediate and lasting changes.
Changing your swim stroke takes discipline, determination, and most of all patience. Stick with it, and you will be swimming faster with less effort in no-time.
Schedule your Underwater VideoTaping lesson today and also let us know if you’d like to join our next Swim Stroke Clinic.
Focus every stroke, and remember, “Clean is Smooth, Smooth is Fast!”