Looks like you're on the free plan. Upgrade today for just $9.99!Sign Up Today

Advanced Freestyle Swim Lesson #2:
Early Vertical Forearm

Early Vertical Forearm (often referred to as E-V-F) is a technique that applies to all strokes. In freestyle, EVF occurs when the swimmer sets up the arm into a power position before initiating the pull. Freestyle EVF looks like this…and it puts the arm in the most effective catch position to grab an armful of water.

To teach freestyle EVF, I have the swimmer start on land. I have her stand straight up with the arms in Position 11.

Then, I demonstrate and ask her to keep the elbows at the same height as she presses the forearms and hands, as one solid unit, to a position slightly higher than the head.

As the swimmer presses to this position, the elbows will press outside the bodyline. The hands should be in-line with the shoulders, with the palms facing the ground. I have her freeze in this position and make adjustments if necessary.

Next, while she maintains that position, I have her bend at the knees and at the waist.

Now she is in a horizontal EVF position. I make adjustments if necessary.

Next we go the water… and preferably over a mirror. I ask the swimmer to float in Position 11 and look at the position of her elbows in relation to the top of her head. For most swimmers, the elbows will be forward of the head.

Next, I ask the swimmer to press her forearms down to a vertical position, allowing the elbows to press up and out…but not back. She should be able to see in the mirror that her elbows have remained forward of her head. This is the EVF Freeze.

After she achieves the EVF freeze position, I tell her to maintain the high-elbow position and pull both arms back toward the legs.

Then she recovers underwater to a Position 11 float and repeats the movement.

After this, I have the swimmer do the movement slowly but without pausing.

The next step is begin in a Position-11 float, but this time press only one arm back into an EVF Freeze, then complete the pull and recover the arm out and over the water.

Repeat with the other arm.

Next do this slowly but without pausing.

Another method to teach freestyle EVF is the Head- Up Scooter Drill. While holding a kickboard with one arm, she swims head-up freestyle with the other arm. She can watch her arm recovery, hand entry, and elbow position as she sets up the pull.

I instruct her to watch her ELBOW as her forearm presses back to a position under her elbow before pulling. The elbow should pop up toward the surface and move outward… but should not slide back.

Only after the forearm is in a vertical position should she engage her strong lat muscles to pull back.

An additional EVF teaching drill is the EVF Dog-Paddle Pull. Using a pull buoy and a snorkel, the swimmer begins each stroke in Position 11 and performs alternate one-arm EVF pulls.