Freestyle Video: How to Pull Underwater

Courtesy of Gary Hall Sr., 10-time World Record Holder, 3-time Olympian, 1976 Olympic Games US Flagbearer and The Race Club co-founder.

Race Club (courtesy of TRC)Many swimmers rely on natural instinct when they learn how to pull underwater in freestyle. But if we stop and think about what happens during the stroke cycle with our arms and body, we might choose to pull in a different way. There is quite a range of possibilities in how to pull underwater. From a pull way underneath our bodies to a pull way out to the side, there is a sweet spot for all of us, depending on the swimmer and the race.

We have a saying at the Race Club that drag is the number one enemy of the swimmer. Therefore, we must pay attention to drag and feel all it’s forces in order to best deal with it in creating speed through water. In this #swimisodes learn the advantage of a deep pull equating to more power vs the advantage of the high elbow pull creating less drag but also less power during the underwater pull.

At the Race Club, we practice several ‘drag appreciation drills’ as seen in this #swimisodes. Watch 4 time Olympian Roland Schoeman, World Champion Junya Koga and Elite Marathon swimmer, Lexie Kelly led by Coach Gary Hall take it back to the basics allowing the swimmer to feel ‘drag forces’ that may often go unoticed. Compare and contrast the feelings of more power vs. less drag. These drills might help you understand how to pull underwater in swimming freestyle.

Yours in swimming,

Gary Sr.

Gary Hall, Sr., Technical Director and Head Coach of The Race Club (courtesy of TRC)

Gary Hall, Sr., Technical Director and Head Coach of The Race Club (courtesy of TRC)

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THE RACE CLUB

Because Life is Worth Swimming, our mission is to promote swimming through sport, lifelong enjoyment, and good health benefits. Our objective is for each member of and each participant in The Race Club to improve his or her swimming performances, health, and self-esteem through our educational programs, services and creativity. We strive to help each member of The Race Club overcome challenges and reach his or her individual life goals.

The Race Club, logoThe Race Club provides facilities, coaching, training, technical instruction, video, fitness and health programs for swimmers of all ages and abilities. Race Club swim camps are designed and tailored to satisfy each swimmer’s needs, whether one is trying to reach the Olympic Games or simply improve one’s fitness. Our programs are suitable for beginner swimmers, pleasure swimmers, fitness swimmers, USA swimming or YMCA swimmers, or triathletes; anyone who wants to improve swimming skills. All of our Race Club members share an enjoyment of being in the water and use swimming to stimulate a more active mind and body.

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Quyen

Is there a limit to how high your elbow should be to minimize drag? Or does the body rotation place an upper limit on how high you can realistically keep your elbows?

The height of the elbow underwater can be limited by the ability of the swimmer to extend the shoulders backward. Generally the higher the elbow under water, the less frontal drag and less propulsive power. Swimming is a sport of compromises between power and drag forces. In attaining the high elbow pull one must careful to avoid either the out sweep or in sweep of the hand to initiate the pull. As this further reduces power.

T Hill

good to see this written/video. Been doing similar over the years, with how the hand/wrist/forearm entry – few fingers out of place can be felt. Doing tubing assist (aides at 1-1.5 sec. faster ) with the different catches or recovery in Breast or pull outs – swimmers can fell the difference. Also, chutes (with/w-o buoy) to experience difference in power in catch on all strokes. When we work with kids on head position & how that effects hips & legs that feel it right away – the key is making the change under more stress. The key is making the change while most kids are younger & don’t have ingrained bad habits. thanks for sharing !

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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