This week at swimgym CATCH

Every week we provide you with new training goals, coach tips and a skill video to make you a better and faster swimmer. Watch the weekly video and read the SwimGym blog.

Femke Heemskerk is one of the most successful Dutch swimmers in history. A few of her many great achievements are an Olympic gold and silver medal and her individual world title in the 100 freestyle in 2014. She's known for her incredible work ethic in tr...

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Skills & drills Fist Freestyle

Fist freestyle will increase your ‘water feeling’ which will make you more efficient. Make a fist with your hands and eliminate the hand as your paddle. By doing this, you lose the pressure of the water on the palm of your hand and makes you search for other ways to create propulsion - like with your forearms.

How to do it 

  • Swim freestyle and make a balled fist with your hands

  • Emphasize that high elbow position in your catch

  • And use your forearm to create propulsion

Focus points 

  • Hold a high elbow during the catch phase - bend your elbow slightly and point your fist down before pulling through

  • Make sure your elbow ALWAYS stays higher than your hand during the pull-through

  • And remember to keep tension on your wrists in order to create propulsion

Coach tip

Start the fist freestyle and open your hands halfway the lap. You will feel an increased pressure on your hands and forearms once you do this. This means you are increasing your water awareness, which will make you more efficient in the water. 


pull buoy, snorkel


The higher your stroke rate, the faster you go. The trick is to maintain your stroke length when speeding up, by focussing on your push out. Focus on execution, which means holding onto your technique, even when the set gets tough.

More coach tips?

coach tips
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This might be the most important thing you read this week. You wonder why your shoulder hurts or you’re not as fast as the others in your lane. You chalk it up to a lack of fitness or flexibility, when in fact it could be just one thing: the catch.

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