I think most readers of the book understood that the front crawl is not a stroke where the swimmer should keep his shoulders flat on the water but that instead the swimmer has every interest in practicing the body roll : during each arm stroke, the swimmer must push one shoulder under the water and bring out his other shoulder above the water.
Well executed, this roll provides many benefits:
- more power
- more streamline
- better hydrodynamics
- prevention of shoulder injuries
- a better distributed effort using the body’s powerful muscles (back, chest) rather than only the shoulders.
However, some beginners or intermediate swimmers have a tendency to exaggerate the body roll and there are losing its advantages and in particular hydrodynamics and power.
As show in the picture below, this swimmer’s body roll is too exaggerated: you can see how the swimmer’s bent elbow has placed the midline of his body. This movement is most often observed during the inhalation phase (as is the case with this swimmer) because it is favored by an exaggerated exit of the swimmer’s head or face to breathe. We can observe how his underwater arm crosses over the midline of his body.
I draw in the picture with the red lines a much better position for his arm and forearm out of the water, and in blue lines, the ideal position of his submarine arm.
How to fix this mistake ?
The first tip is to realize where the hand is when the elbow is the highest out of the water: is it too close to the body of the swimmer? Or is it rather on a line that would fall vertically about 20cms from the swimmer? If needed, ideally, a video control with the help of a friend or coach will allow to check your body roll.
To fix it:
- in full swim, pause when the elbow is the highest out of the water;
- practice the zipper educational (see the book): bring back the aerial hand by touching the surface of the water at the recommended distance;
- do a few crawl cycles with your arm extended out of the water;
- work your head position when inhaling by taking your face out of the water as little as you can (we’ll talk about it in more detail in others posts of this website.
Happy swimming !