How to Swim Front Crawl

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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If you’re interested in swimming, it’s more likely than not that you’ve of front crawl. It’s often the first stroke we’re taught when we’re a child. But how many of us actually remember how to swim front crawl properly? 

Knowing the correct way to swim front crawl can help you achieve the maximum results from your swimming workout.


How to Swim Front Crawl Properly

To swim the front crawl stroke properly, you should start to face down in the water on your front. Keep your head in a neutral position whilst looking down at the bottom of the pool.

Your fingers should enter the water first, with your palms facing down for the hand entry. Keep this entry directly in line with your shoulder. Again, aim to make this entry as smooth as possible.

Once you have completed the hand entry, it’s time for the catchphrase. This is where you start to pull down through the stroke. 

At this stage, you should push down using your hand and forearm. Again, your elbow should be kept high. It can be helpful at this stage for beginners to imagine they are trying to put their arm around a barrel.

From the catchphrase, you move into the pull phase. This is when your hand starts to move underneath your head. Keep your fingers pointed toward the bottom of the pool. The palm of your hand should be directed at the end of the pool that you’re swimming away from.  

To move forward, you need to apply force in the opposite direction. Your hand should stay underneath your body, not out to the side. This helps maintain balance and symmetry.

As you pull your hand towards your hip, finish the stroke by pushing backward. Extend your arm as your hand leaves the water.

The recovery phase comes next. At this point, your arm leaves the water at the back of the stroke and bends your elbow. Again, lead with your shoulder to allow your hand and forearms to stay relaxed at this point.

As you kick, try to keep your legs as straight as possible. For the best results, keep your ankles relaxed and make sure the power is coming from your thighs, not your calves. 


What Should You Do with Your Body in the Front Crawl?

When swimming in the front crawl, you should focus on keeping your body in a flat position, parallel to the surface of the water. In addition, your body should be streamlined with a slight tilt of the hips to keep your leg kick underwater.

It’s also important to focus on keeping your head in the right position. It should be in alignment with your spine. 

Also, holding your head too high in the water can lead to uneven weight distribution, which makes it much harder to swim properly. Instead, remember to focus more weight on your upper chest to create balance. 

Finally, as you breathe, it’s vital to focus on turning your head as opposed to raising it out of the water.

To swim front crawl effectively, you should focus on harmonizing and integrating your body movements. 

The movement of your arms, legs, and head all work together to create one whole action. You should aim to keep your movements in rhythm. This also includes your breathing.


What’s the Best Way to Breathe with a Front Crawl?

When swimming in the front crawl, breathing should occur during the stroke, not at one specific point. You should always be breathing either in or breathing out. You should not stop or hold your breath.

To inhale, you should let your head rotate around with your body as your hips and shoulders rotate. It’s important to keep your body straight and in line. You should only move your head to the point where your mouth is just outside of the water. 

Your eye line should be level with the side of the pool. At this stage, you should be breathing in through your mouth and avoid breathing in through your nose.

When exhaling, you should begin as soon as your head goes back into the water to stop the water from going in your mouth or up your nose. 

This should be a slow and controlled trickle of breath until your next inhalation. This is because it’s so important not to hold your breath and suddenly exhale. 

How often you choose to take a breath is completely up to you. There is no rule for this, and everyone has different preferences. 

It is advised, however, that you aim to breathe bilaterally. This means breathing to both the left and the side. To do this, a good starting point is to take a breath every three strokes. This helps to keep your stroke even and symmetrical. 


How Fast Should You Swim Starting Out?

How fast you should swim when just starting out depends on the individual. It’s important to swim at a pace that’s comfortable for you. If unsure, it’s better to start slowly and slowly build up to a faster pace. 

If you start going too rapidly, you will become tired quickly, and it will be a struggle to finish your swimming workout. As a beginner, it is more beneficial to be consistent with your swimming practice than to focus on swimming at a quick pace. 

Going slower and swimming a couple of times a week will always be more beneficial than trying to go fast for one session. 


How to Prevent Getting Tired So Fast With a Front Crawl?

There are a few things you can do to prevent yourself from becoming tired so fast with the front crawl stroke:


  • Breathe correctly – Make sure not to hold your breath but instead use the trickle technique.


  • Make sure your body is in the correct position.


  • Swim at the right pace – Don’t go too fast.


  • Ensure your kick is not too strong.


Final Thoughts on How to Swim Front Crawl

Learning to swim in the front crawl stroke is a huge step towards becoming a confident and triumphant swimmer. Knowing what to focus on, how to breathe properly, and at what pace to swim will help you attain your fitness and swimming goals more quickly and easily. 

Once you’re comfortable with this stroke, it’s easy to build swimming into your regular workout routine and get the body of your dreams.