This week at swimgym FEEL FOR THE WATER

Creating more feel for the water and therefore more efficiency in your stroke, you have to become more aware of how to control the water with your hands and forearms. Sculling drills are essential in creating that awareness and to be able to catch and push more water while pulling through. Good luck!

One of the most challenging parts of swimming is the catch, which is the beginning of the pull-through. It combines mobility with power and timing. Swimmers of all levels believe that keeping your elbow high during the catch is a necessity, this is just one of the man...

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Skills & drills Front Scull

By doing this drill you will increase your feel for the water during the catch phase of your pull through and make your stroke more efficient. To start the front scull, lay face down in the water with both arms in front of you. Point your finger tips slightly down and move your hands in and out by bending your elbows. 

How to do it 

  • Start on your stomach with both arms shoulder width in front of you, facing down 

  • Move you’re your hands in and out by only bending the elbow, not your upper arms

  • Palms go out and in, catching the water continuously and creating propulsion 

  • Using a steady tempo, you will feel pressure on your palms and forearms 

Focus points

  • Point your finger tips downwards slightly while sculling. This makes you go forward

  • Keep your shoulders and upper arms completely still, only bend from the elbow

  • Keep your wrists stretched, hands open and fingers together

  • Maintain body position by facing down towards the bottom of the pool

  • Don’t move too slow – keep up a good pace 

Coach tip 

Take time to practice sculling drills, find a way to increase tempo without losing the elbow bend and relaxed body position. When repeating this drill several times, you will notice an increased feel for the water and be more aware of your catch. Your freestyle will become more efficient and you will eventually swim faster.



pull buoy, snorkel


Focus on your catch while swimming easy. A slight wrist bend at the beginning of the pull-through allows your hand and forearm to drop. Avoid pulling your elbow backwards at this stage as this means your hand will slip through the water instead of catching the water.

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