What is Front Crawl Swimming?

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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Swimming is a great all-over body workout that improves your aerobic fitness, burns calories, and tones your muscles whilst putting little pressure on your joints. There are several different strokes when swimming. 

As a beginner, you may be overwhelmed with where to start. This article discusses front crawl swimming, one of the most popular and versatile techniques. 


What is the Front Crawl Technique in Swimming?

The front crawl is a common swimming stroke. The front crawl technique is effective for whole-body fitness. The front crawl is one of the four strokes in international swimming competitions, together with the breaststroke, butterfly stroke, and backstroke.

There are four essential elements to the front crawl technique in swimming : 


  • Body position
  • Arm stroke
  • Kick
  • Breathing


To carry out the front crawl technique effectively, these four elements must be fully developed. 


What is the Meaning of Front Crawl?

Front crawl is simply the name of the swimming stroke. When using the front crawl technique, the front of your body is facing down in the water. Whilst your arms reach in front of you, pulling back the water. 

This movement mimics the action of crawling. Your legs are also continuously doing a flutter kick.

The “crawling” element of this stroke, which refers to the arm movement, is very important to this stroke. This can be split up into three parts – the entry, the catch, and the pull.

The entry is the point at which your hand enters the water. 

Your hand should be straight at this point, with your fingers being the first point of entry to the water. You should aim to make as little splash as possible, and your hand should be almost parallel to the angle of the water.

The catch is the moment when you bend your hand and wrist to initiate pulling your hand back. This is an essential step of the stroke and sets you up to be successful in the next step of the stroke.

The next step is the pull. This happens straight after the catch. It is the point where you pull your hand through the water. This allows you to pull yourself forward through the water. 


Why is the Technique Named Front Crawl?

This technique is believed to be named the front crawl, thanks to an Australian swimmer named Dick Cavill. In the 19th century, Cavil popularized this swimming technique. When describing this way of swimming, Cavil described it as similar to “crawling through the water.”


Why is Front Crawl Important in Swimming?

Front crawl is important in swimming because it’s the fastest stroke if proper technique is used. It also can be the most efficient stroke, allowing you to cover the most distance in the pool while using the least energy. 

This is only the case if the correct form is carried out. This is why it’s vital to practice and develop all four of the components of this stroke.

Front crawl provides you with a low-impact, full-body workout. It is also important for toning your body, particularly the upper body. The front crawl is a great way to burn calories and tone the muscles of your shoulders, arms, back, and abs.


Is Front Crawl the Same as Freestyle?

In short, the front crawl technique is the same as the freestyle. Therefore, the front crawl stroke is often referred to as the freestyle stroke. 

Technically, however, freestyle refers to the name of a race that is part of swimming competitions. In freestyle races, swimmers have the option to choose which stroke they wish to use. 

In freestyle races, the front crawl stroke is almost always used. This is because of the speed and efficiency of this stroke. Because of this association between the freestyle race and the front crawl stroke, the terms front crawl and freestyle have become interchangeable.


Final Thoughts on What is Front Crawl Swimming

Learning to swim with the front crawl technique is vital to becoming a successful swimmer. Once you have mastered this stroke, your confidence in the pool will skyrocket. 

In addition, by practicing the four main elements of this stroke: body position, arm stroke, kick, and breathing, you’ll be able to have a fun, low-impact but highly effective full-body workout.