Cross Over Swim Kick

by SwimSwam 5

March 26th, 2018 Lifestyle, Training

Courtesy of Eney Jones

One kick wonder . . . . .

Wisdom begins in wonder . . . . . Socrates

Cross Over v. Rhythmic Kick technique

We all know the standard 2 beat, 4 beat, and 6 beat kick. If you don’t, for every right and left pull you kick 2 or 4 or 6 times in correspondence to the arm strokes. Notoriously, a two beat kick was for distance and a 4 beat kick middle distance and a 6 beat kick reserved for sprinting. In the last few decades a sprinters’ kick (6 beat) started to be infused in some distance events.

Trent Grimsey, current World Record holder for the English Channel in 6:55 minutes; (21 miles) places swimmers in two categories, strong swimmers and rhythmic swimmers.

  • Strong swimmers – slow stroke rate, very efficient, strong in the gym
  • Rhythmic swimmers – high stroke rate, not overly efficient, weak in the gym

See Cross Over Kick DRILLS!

Advantages of Cross Over Kick Technique

Grimsey teaches all rhythmic swimmers he coaches to cross over kick for the following reasons:

1. More Efficient Body Position. Rhythmic swimmers have a higher stroke rate and the upper body slightly sits higher in the water, in turn making the legs sit slightly lower in the water. Performing cross over kick lifts the legs higher so the body position is better in the water.

2. Compliment Arm Rhythm. Rhythmic swimmers swim fast when they have good rhythm in their stroke. The cross over kick helps rhythmic swimmers stay in rhythm with their arms. It is like a tenuto in music. (a deliberate hold).

3. Reaching your Potential. Often you’ll find rhythmic swimmers not reaching their full potential because their coach is telling them to use a normal 2 beat, 4 beat or 6 beat kick. Rhythmic swimmers can’t find rhythm doing that and in turn can’t swim fast doing that.

4. Energy Efficiency. Standard kicking, 2-4-6 beat kicking is exhausting on the legs. In a triathlon or a distance swim standard kicking will not only exhaust the biggest muscles in your body that you will need to use later, standard kicking also does not keep them afloat with minimal or no added effort the way a cross over kick does.

5. Lengthens Stoke Pull. The cross over kick lengthens the pull of your stroke. As the hip lifts and the ankle crosses more length is available in the back of the stroke.

6. Balanced Rhythm. The rhythm is like a dance with minimal effort to find easy tempo and get a break or pause (tenuto) without compromising body position. For a 2 beat cross over; think of it like a waltz 1-2, cross. 1-2 cross.

7. Speed. Even if you fall into the strong category you can swim fast easier if you use a cross over kick.

Both authors of this article are cross over kickers and proud of it!

Eney Jones has achieved remarkably diverse success as a leading pool, open water and Ironman triathlon swimmer.

  • Masters National Champion 100-200-400-500-1500-1650 5k freestyle 2009
  • Open Water 5k Champion Perth Australia, May 2008.
  • National Masters Champion 200-400-1500 freestyle Champion, Portland Oregon, August, 2008.
  • Overall Champion Aumakua 2.4k Maui Hawaii, September 2008
  • Waikiki Rough Water Swim 3rd place 2006, second place Overall 2009, 3rd place 2012
  • European Record Holder and Masters Swimming Champion, 2005. Records included 200, 400, 800, 1500 m freestyle
  • Over twenty time finalist in U.S. Swimming Nationals, including Olympic Trials 1980
  • Gold medal NCAA 800 yd freestyle relay 1979, silver Medalist 200 yd freestyle 1979. United States National Team 1979-1980.
  • Professional Triathlete 1983-1991. First woman out of the water in every Hawaiian Ironman participated (6).

Trent Grimsey is a member of the Australian National Open Water Swimming Team and one of the best open water swimmers in the world. Trent is the English Channel World Record Holder and is the 2012 FINA Open Water Grand Prix Champion. Trent participated in the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China and on the FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup and the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix series. He won the shortened 2012 Maratón Internacional Hernandarias – Paraná in Argentina. Trent also has the following accomplishments: FINA World Championships 25km (Rome)- SILVER, 2009 FINA World Cup 10km (Sharjah) – GOLD, 2009 Waikiki Rough Water Swim (Hawaii)- GOLD, 2010 Australian Nationals 5km – GOLD, 2010 The Great Australian Swim (Redcliffe) – 1st, 2011 Maui Channel Swim (team) 18K – 1st (Maui, Hawaii), 2011 Optimis Sport Distance Swim Challenge 20km – 1st (Los Angeles, USA), 2011 Australian Nationals 5km – SILVER, 2011 The Great Australian Swim (Coolangatta) – 1st, 2011 Noosa Blue Ocean Swim – 1st, 2011 Cadiz Freedom Swim (Cape Town, South Africa) – 2nd, 2012 Capri-Napoli Marathon – 1st, set course record – World Record English Channel Swim set August 28, 2012 of 6:55 hours.
Trent attended Genesis Christian College, completed his Diploma of Remedial Massage and a Diploma of Fitness, and lives in Brisbane, Australia.

More about Eney JonesMore about Trent Grimsey.

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4 years ago

If you can’t throttle up a strong, purposeful, effective kick at will that only makes you faster, you really need to re-examine your inefficiencies.

4 years ago

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

4 years ago

It’s an error, a response in the legs to instability in the body line. Don’t make a virtue of a vice.

Sum Ting Wong
Reply to  StrokeDoc
4 years ago

It is the kick of the Olympic 1500 champ .

Reply to  Sum Ting Wong
4 years ago

There’s an Olympic fly champ who looks around at his competitors during his races. I’ve not heard any credible person suggest others should duplicate that error.