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Just like in the real world, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, when swimming freestyle, we need to focus on making sure we're driving our hands forward during extension.
Why do it:
Driving the hands forward not only directs us to our goal, but it also streamlines, rotates, and stretches the body into the next catch.
How to do it:
1) Start by kicking on your side, eyes down at the bottom, one hand forward and the other back.
2) Sneak the trailing hand up your side.
3) When the hands gets to your face, start the catch with the leading hand and...
4) DRIVE the recoverying hand to full extension.
How to do it really well (the fine points):
Stay rotated for as long as you can until the catch and drive occurs. Think about snapping the body around to help drive the hand forward as far as you can. Watch for any "bobbing" up and down of the head, as any movement UP, isn't movement forward, and should be avoided.