3 Drills to Fix Your Swimming Stroke and Eliminate Drag

Have you ever watched yourself swim freestyle on film? Video analysis is all the rage these days, and for good reason: When you slow down your stroke, you can break it into several segments and figure out where you need to make adjustments. This helps determine which individual drills will help improve your overall efficiency.

The first step toward more efficient swimming is to reduce drag. You might be creating more swim drag than you think. There are a number of ways swimmers interfere with their own forward movement in the water. Here are three of the most common freestyle mistakes, and drills to help you learn how to swim faster.

More: 7 Tips for Swimming Newbies

Arm Crossover

A lot of swimmers end up crossing their arms over the center line, decreasing the effectiveness of their catch (the part of the stroke where the swimmer "catches" the water and pulls it back) and making their shoulders more susceptible to injury.

Try this on dry land: Raise your right arm into the air. Your hand should shoot straight up into the air directly above your shoulder -- not float over your head or off to the side. This is the line you should follow in your stroke.

Fix it Drill: Incorporate several sets of drills into each workout where you focus solely on your arms. Some athletes reach for the corners of the pool, although that sometimes results in overcompensation.

Better yet, if you have a lane to yourself, swim directly over the black line. Keep each arm on its respective side of the black line throughout each stroke. Lift your head higher than usual during this drill to monitor your arm movements. Pay particularly close attention during your breathing strokes as this is when you're most susceptible to crossing over.

More: 4 Ways to Improve Your Swim Technique

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