How to Swim Faster Freestyle
Whether you’re a triathlete training for open water, a competitive swimmer, or a recreational...
The concept of rotating while swimming freestyle has been around for a long time now. A good body rotation is the key to an excellent freestyle swimming technique. This article will tell you what the freestyle rotation is all about, why it is so crucial to your freestyle technique, and how you can improve your rotation with just a few tips and drills.
Freestyle rotation is the rotation of your hips, torso and shoulders along the long axis of your body during your freestyle stroke. For a proper and efficient freestyle technique, your hips, torso and shoulders should all rotate together in a single motion during each stroke you take.
We recommend rotating without losing your rhythm while swimming. There should be no strokes you take that are followed with a pause or a dead spot because you are rotating too much. Check out this video below to understand how far you should rotate.
It is very rare to find swimmers with too much body rotation in freestyle. In most cases, swimmers don't rotate enough or have a bad rotation on one side. But body rotation is essential to a proper freestyle stroke technique. In fact, it is considered fundamental to proper freestyle swimming. The three main reasons why the freestyle rotation is so important are:
Lying in a flat position in the water and recovering your arms puts stress on your shoulder, especially your rotator cuff muscles. You can easily try this on land with a simple exercise.
With great rotation comes great reach. As you rotate from side to side, you can further extend your reach and also generate more power with every stroke you take. By beginning your catch phase earlier and with an extended arm, you will travel further with every stroke and require fewer strokes per lap.
As you rotate from one side to the other side while swimming freestyle, you are transferring power between your arms and shoulders through your core, back and chest muscles. Because these muscles are considered some of the strongest in the body, especially for swimmers, you can generate more power.
If you swim in a flat position, you generate the entire power for your stroke solely from your shoulders and arms. These muscles are a lot weaker than your core, back and chest muscles, and swimming longer distances puts much stress on them, which increases the chance of suffering from an injury.
Here are two of our personal favourite drills you can use to improve your freestyle rotation:
This is probably one of the best, if not the best drill for swimmers of all levels to improve their rotation and body position while swimming freestyle. With this drill, you learn how to rotate your body without compromising your form. Also, this drill helps you time your breathing while rotating and staying streamlined – which can be quite challenging.
Similar to the first drill, the full-body rotation drill while kicking helps you develop a controlled rotation while also teaching you how to develop a proper breathing cycle on both sides of your body. However, this drill is definitely a bit more challenging and requires a strong kick since both momentum and stability come only from your legs.
If this drill is challenging for you, improve your body tension. Flex your abs and your buttocks while maintaining a great streamlined position at all times. Try not to lose the body tension when rotating to take a breath.
Now it’s time for you to take the guesswork out of swimming freestyle faster! Start thinking about your freestyle rotation and ask a friend, or coach to take a closer look at how you are rotating in the water. The best way to practice a proper rotation while maintaining a good rhythm and an efficient breathing pattern is by doing the recommended drills.
Alexandra Petala is the Content Marketing Manager at TritonWear. Before joining TritonWear, Alexandra had created her own company delivering freelance services for lead generation. She also served as the Growth Manager at Just' Geter Done. A former swimming coach and Greek National Champion herself with over 20 years of experience in competitive swimming. Alexandra graduated from the Empire State University with a degree in Business Economics and Marketing.