Hi Sigma Swim and Stroke Schoolers!
We're now OFF THE WALL in our series for beginning swimmers. We've gone from getting in, to bobbing, to floating, and most recently to pushing off in streamline. As we continue to plug on, we should already begin to see improvements in our swimming proficiency. Now, we've mastered some of the basics involved in getting our feet wet (literally and figuratively). This week's discussion centers around the first "true stroke", freestyle. Sometimes called the "front crawl" in other countries, freestyle is the simplest and most variable stroke of the four - freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. Yet, it is also the one with the most initial learning curve since it is learned first. Let's follow along to see how your beginner can learn.
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Learning freestyle is no small feat. It is a massive accomplishment on the way to becoming a proficient survival and/or fitness swimmer (as well as hopefully a future competitive team swimmer). It's the foundation, the groundwork that can segue to other proficiencies in the water. It is important to follow the directions and start slowly. As noted in the video, one can start learning freestyle with "Catch-Up Drill. This involves using a kickboard or other floatation device to keep buoyant, taking one full stroke with one arm and returning to the board. This can develop the initial rhythm required. Once this has been mastered, you can move away from the floatation device and practice catch-up with just your body.
After learning freestyle, it's common to see rapid growth. Consider freestyle the ice breaker and the other strokes a free-flowing conversation. It just takes a little to get the wheels turning, and once they are, swimming seems to click much easier. There are many ways to improve on our freestyle technique once we get going, including kicking, pulling, and body position. Just like walking, it's about getting one limb in front of the other and in a constant rhythm. As we get more comfortable with this, it becomes easier to get into the details of our breathing and efficiency, which puts swimmers on their way to being a wonderful and experienced fish!
Fact of the week: Freestyle does not only provide an active means for survival. Once a swimmer learns the basics of freestyle and is comfortable in autonomy, many new doors open. These include open water swimming, lifeguarding, snorkeling, training for the Navy, and of course competitive swimming. Let freestyle be the gateway to further improvement and future endeavors. "You have to [front] crawl before you can run." You may come to realize how good you feel in the water and never want to leave!
How does my child move up? Come to every swim class, bring your progress report, earn those stickers, and ask your child's instructor or location's deck manager if you have questions.
Let's continue to help you feel free in the water! Glad your swimmer is learning to swim with us!
The Sigma Team