Chapter Seven
The Home Pool


The Arm Stroke~~Individual

By now, if you have been practicing regularly you should be doing a good push from the wall and a float with kick to a partner. You may also have accomplished the push from pool bottom and float (with or without a kick) to the wall. You should have perfected your mid-float recoveries easily and without any anxiety performing them. If you are accomplishing these tasks well, you are ready for the Front Crawl Arm Stroke.


Before learning new tasks, it's imperative to begin by reviewing the previous ones.


First, After entering the pool, do some warmups, then work with a partner.

1--Perform Push from Wall and Float with Kick to Partner at least 3 X well.

2--Stand ten to fifteen feet away facing wall. Perform Push off pool floor and Prone Float with Kick to Wall. 3 X.

3--Practice recovery at mid-float to wall and mid-float to partner at least 3 X with ease.

Continue above review until mastered. Do not attempt arm strokes before you have mastered the above segments.


(For extra stroke illustrations Click here (Chapter 6-B.)

Illustration Showing Positions for the Dip; Pull; Lift and Arch.

Fig. 1--With elbow bent, right hand Dips into water to begin the stroke--left arm Lifts out of water, left elbow points up.

NOTE: Backs of hands must always face forward.

Fig. 2--Right arm begins the Pull--as left arm forms the Arch.

Fig. 3--Right arm continues down side of body. Elbow straightens only an instant. Left arm begins the Dip.

Above: Standing Position in Pool for Practicing Arm Strokes.

IMPORTANT: Study the above illustrations before continuing with progressions below.

NOTE: You may wish to practice these tasks at home before trying them in the pool.

1--Stand erect in pool with back of right hand facing forward. (Refer to illustration above)

2--LIFT RIGHT arm up--elbow raised high as possible.

3--With elbow pointing to the ceiling, move arm forward forming an ARCH.

4--With elbow tilted upward let hand DIP down into water about two feet beyond your shoulder.

5--PULL back with hand under water, elbow slightly bent.

6--Straighten elbow as hand pulls back.

7--After hand moves beyond hips, elbow again bends.

8--Hand lifts out of water, elbow points upward.

9--With back of hand facing front, lift arm forming an ARCH.

10--With RIGHT arm again, repeat sequence from ONE through NINE at least 5 X or until mastered.

11--With LEFT arm repeat sequence from ONE through NINE at least 5 X or until mastered.

12--ALTERNATELY move left and then right arm through above sequences. One arm is at the DIP while the other is performing the LIFT and one arm performs the ARCH as the other is at the PULL.

NOTE: It may help to practice the above movements while standing in front of a mirror.

Sometimes pupils are too concerned about arm positions and lose the rhythm of a smooth, flowing motion. If this occurs, try performing without thinking about which arm moves when or where.

13--After learning the above stationary tasks, perform them as you walk across the pool several times. When certain that you are performing the Standing and Walking Arm Stroke tasks perfectly, continue below.


1--With partner standing at least 12 feet ahead, perform Push from Wall With Kick to Partner and Recover.

2--Perform Push from Bottom of Pool With Kick to Wall.

3--Perform tasks 1 and 2 at least 2 X.


1--Push from wall to partner. Attain a good float, perform kick and THEN the Stroke. Recall sequence of Dip; Pull; Lift and Arch. Be sure your head is down at all times.

2--Recover and turn toward wall. Push off pool bottom, attain good float, kick THEN stroke and continue to pool side. Perform tasks 4 and 5 until perfected.


Fig. A~Crossing over the center line at the Dip causes the Pull to move out away from the body instead of down the side. Much stroke power is lost.

Fig. B~When stroke is too wide (outrigger effect) power is lost, causing the Pull to either move toward the chest to compensate, or to remain too far out from body. Either way, strokes will be too short and quick.

Fig. C~Proper entry. Dip is straight from shoulder--elbow slightly bent. Pull will be close to body and powerful.

Fig. D~Stroke too short. If arms are not extended enough, Pull will be weak and ineffectual.

Fig. E~Over extension also results in loss of power. Energy is lost because the Pull is dissipated from stretching too far and is therefore too shallow.

If you are not satisfied with your progress, have someone check you for the following problems. It's often difficult for individuals to realize that they are not correctly performing particular tasks.

1--"Nothing Seems to Work." Usually caused by over anxiety. Did you remember to take one step at a time? Did you first take a deep breath, put your head down in the water with both arms straight in front THEN push off wall or pool bottom, THEN attain proper float; THEN kick; THEN the stroke? DO NOT TRY TO DO EVERYTHING AT ONCE! Take the time to perform each action thoroughly, separately and consciously.

2~"I'm Not Going Forward After the Push." You may be doing one of the following:

a--Kicking by dipping hips from side to side instead of moving legs or ankles up and down.
b--Pull is not strong enough.
c--Elbows drop downward during the Arch.
d--Hand turns up at the Dip so palm faces forward and BACK of hand is facing YOU.
e--At the Dip elbow or heel of hand enters water first instead of fingers.
f--Arms are merely floating through the Pull instead of pulling back hard and strong.
g--Hand not lifted high enough out of water at the Lift.
h--Forgetting to keep your head down in the water.
i--Forgot to achieve a good float FIRST.
j--Lifting your arm upward after the Dip instead of pulling BACK alongside your body for the Pull. This may also cause your body to go underwater.
k--Pushing hands forward and backward under water instead of going through the proper sequences of Lift, Arch, Dip and Pull.

You may have more than one of the above problems but correcting only one of them will often automatically solve the others.

NOTE: If there is no one to oversee your performance, go through each of the above movements separately by standing in one place so you can watch yourself performing them. Correct any stroke problems you notice and practice doing them properly several times. Next, push off and perform the Float, Kick and Stroke again, concentrating on your corrected moves.


Devices that May Help

1--A Kickboard. Place board under one arm and push off from wall and kick. Move other arm through each sequence of the stroke and see how well you are doing them.

2--Hand Paddles. These are good for keeping hands in the correct position. It's virtually impossible, for instance, to enter the Dip with the wrist or elbow entering the water first, or with fingers pointing upward instead of down while wearing hand paddles. They also improve arm strength and help you to swim straight.


The Home Pool
Chapter 7-B~Breathing~~Instructor

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