Swimming: Freestyle Arm Recovery

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Top Picture:  High elbow recovery.

Bottom Picture: Straight arm recovery

  • Historically the high elbow recovery has been the “correct”way to swim freestyle.
  • However as knowledge increases and we see more and more swimmers succeeding with a straight arm style it has become clear that there is no one size fits all for freestyle technique.
  • If you feel more comfortable using straight arms or you are able to more easily find your rhythm this way then straight arm recovery may be the right option for you.
  • Switching to a straight arm recovery during more choppy swims.
  • If you find it difficult swimming in a wetsuit using a bent elbow then a straight arm may help with this.
  • It is also useful to be able to modify your stroke so that you can perform with both a straight arm and high elbow and use each different style when required. 
  • Experiment in training and find what works and how it affects your speed, pace and rhythm.
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