|Entry Phase||The entry phase is when the hand enters the water at the front of the stroke.
It should spear into the water from an aggressive angle with a level hand, in-line with the shoulder on the same side.
|Catch||This is the phase just after the hand has entered the water and is where the swimmer should first ‘take hold’ of the water.
It is characterised by a dip of the hand at the wrist, which allows the swimmer to then pull and push directly backwards without a downwards scoop, optimising their propulsion.
|Pull||This is the phase that is most important for optimal propulsion and therefore, super important to get right.
After the hand has dipped, the elbow should also bend allowing the hand to push directly backwards with the elbow always higher than the wrist.
All this should take place in the same plane as the shoulder on the same side and avoid an ‘S’ shaped action as far as possible.
|Push||This is the final propulsive phase and often forgotten.
Once the hand passes underneath the elbow, it moves into a pushing action and a swimmer should try to extend their hand as far back as possible but retaining a soft bend in the elbow.
|Exit||The elbow should exit the water slightly before the hand, which should exit beyond your hip, by your thigh.
|Recovery||This is the only phase above the water and sets up the next stroke on that side.
As your elbow exits, ensure it carries on a high trajectory. By lifting it up and forwards, it allows the hand to recover underneath rather than swinging around the side.
The benefit is your hand arrives at the front of the stroke with a high elbow allowing the hand to re-enter from an aggressive angle and the hand is level.
|Mid-line||The mid-line of the body is the notional line that runs down from the top of the head and splits the body in two.
The goal is for your hands to always stay outside of this mid-line as crossing it will see you become off-balance. Your body then has to compensate elsewhere to stop you from toppling.
For example, your feet might scissor, or you lift your head to breathe as you are effectively trying to breathe against your body’s rotation.