Chapter Nine~B; RCBD-Individual
The Home Pool


The Front Crawl, Individual

The best way to put the Front Crawl together for the first time is to begin with a prone float and gradually add each component. Upon pushing off the side, most swimmers ease into the Front Crawl in that manner. However, if you prefer using One Perfect Breath and continuing with regular breathing, stroke and kick, that's also acceptable. Progressions for both methods are shown in this chapter.


IMPORTANT: If pool rules require everyone to swim lengths, but the deep end water level is above your lower chest you MUST have a way to stay out of deep water. A partner may stand in front of the deep area and tap your shoulder before you reach it. As explained in previous chapters, during family swims most pools have a retainer or buoy line between deep and shallow water making it possible to swim "lengths" up to the line and back. If possible, swimming WIDTHS at the shallow end is the better option.


1--Push off side with Prone Float. Add the kick and then the arm stroke.

2--Keep head down. Do not add breathing as concentration should be focused on good position, proper kicks and arm stroke.

3--Swim at least twenty feet with face down. Practice until mastered.

Progressions for "putting it all together:"

With either method (OPB or Prone Float) refer to illustrations in Chapter Nine-B, Individual. and Chapter Nine~A, Instructor.

Prone Float Method

1--Standing and facing open pool, lift one leg and place foot against pool side.

2--Bend forward at waist with arms outstretched in Prone Float position.

3--Take a deep breath and push off side into Prone Float. Be sure to keep head DOWN. Remember not to lift head, even an instant, to "see where I'm going," as one pupil remarked.

4--After a good float is maintained, begin the kick.

5--Keeping face down in water, begin the stroke.

6--As breathing-side arm starts the Pull, rotate your head to the side. Back of head is partially in water and face is turned upward. Mouth is CLOSED!

7- Holding position # 6, open mouth and take a quick hard breath as your breathing-side arm performs the Lift.

8--Start exhaling as breathing-side arm begins the Arch. Face now turns back down toward water.

9--Finish exhalation as breathing-side arm performs the Dip and head is turned face down into water.

10-Close mouth as head rotates for second breath. Remember not to take a breath until your closed mouth is OUT of the water. This is only for an instant but EXTREMELY important as it prevents inhaling water and choking.

11--After a quick, hard breath continue with the head rotation back down again as you exhale through mouth and nose. At the same time, breathing-side arm performs the Arch while opposite arm is at the Pull.

The most important thing to remember in learning Front Crawl is that the head, arm strokes and breathing are synchronous--that is, they are constantly moving in an EVEN, RHYTHMIC manner at the SAME RATE.

Often, when moves are broken down into separate components pupils lose track of the continuous rhythm. They may be concentrating on one portion of the Front Crawl and forget about the next step until it's too late to take a breath. If you find you're unable to "catch up" during any portion of the Front Crawl return to either OPB and/or the RCBD and practice them until you have memorized each step so well that you perform them automatically.

The One Perfect Breath Method:

1--At side of pool get into the One Perfect Breath position, ie; holding onto side with breathing-side arm, both feet pressing against pool side (one above the other,) body lying on side with ear into water and opposite arm stretched out straight atop the water.

2--Take deep breath and push off into One Perfect Breath.

3--Continue with stroke and head rotation, exhaling as face turns down into water.

4--Keep exhaling as arms continue with strokes.

5--When breathing-side arm is at the Lift again, head should have rotated upward. CLOSE MOUTH BEFORE TAKING A BREATH.

6--Take quick hard breath and begin rotating head back into water, face down as you exhale. Arm should be at the Dip by the time full exhalation has taken place.

7--Begin the Pull with breathing-side arm and the Arch with opposite arm. Complete full stroke and repeat for next breath, slowly but continuously moving head and arms AT SAME RATE OF SPEED. Also read breathing and stroke instructions for Prone Float Method, above.

NOTE: Study graphic below:


1--Lack of time to take a breath:

a--The easiest way to solve this problem is to push off on your side with one arm forward, in OPB position, only keep the breathing-side arm poised at the ARCH or LIFT. NOTE: It's important to have a strong kick after pushing off side. Keep kicking while holding this position as you move forward and leisurely take a breath. After a few seconds, continue with the head rotation, exhalation and the rest of stroke. This is usually how children are taught to swim the Front Crawl because it's easy to learn how and when to take a breath. After swimming and taking leisurely breaths for a while, you'll eventually have no need for the hesitation, and your stroke will automatically increase its speed.

2--Water up nose:

a--The primary cause is from lifting your head up while taking a breath. Backside of head must lie FLAT atop water with ear opposite the breathing side IN the water while taking a breath.

b--Practice pushing off the side in breathing position (# 1, above) and taking a breath without lifting up head (at least 10 X.)

c--Grasping a kickboard with one hand and extending arm straight out, push off on your SIDE. Kicking hard, breathe with ear opposite breathing side in water as you move forward. Breathing-side arm rests on hip (hand pointing toward feet.) Go at least 20 feet without getting water up your nose, then apply this position to the Front Crawl when you practice it.

3--Mouthful of water instead of air:

a--If head is lifted when NOT on its side, waves from the strokes may move into your mouth causing you to choke when taking a breath. This may also be the result of lifting up your head an instant before pushing off from the side--a difficult habit to break as most pupils are unaware of doing that.

b--Have someone watch you perform the RCBD and tell you if and when your head lifts up when turned for a breath.

c--Practice pushing off side while keeping head DOWN. Also, practice "b" and "c" in # 2 above.

d--Lack of forward motion. Normally, water flows through the front part of your slightly opened mouth while taking a breath and quickly exhaled as your head turns downward. If you are moving too slowly, water cannot flow out.

e--Mouth may be under water at the time you should be inhaling with your stroke at the lift, thus, your head and arm movements are out of synch. Practice moving head and arm at the same rate.

f--If mouth isn't closed an instant prior to taking a breath (after exhaling) residue water will be inhaled along with the air.

Check to find which of the above are causing your problem and concentrate on that one segment alone by practicing it many times over until corrected.

All other problems, such as going to one side, little or no forward momentum, dragging, going underwater, etc., have been covered in previous chapters. Refer to the home page index and click on chapters showing Prone Floats and Prone Floats with Arm Strokes and Kicks, then scroll to Frequent Problems. If you have any further questions or problems please click the mailbox below or on my Home page to send me an e-mail.


Chapter Ten~Treading Water~Instr.
The Home Pool

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