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When people see me swim, it’s hard not to notice a couple of things. One is that my hands are open all the way through the pull...
... and the other is that I have a loping stroke or a kind of “galloping” rhythm to my stroke.
The open hands and the gallup are like a signature -- things that I do that are unique to my stroke and that give me an extra edge.
While the gallop is a very obvious part of my stroke, it’s not something I really think about or that I consider to be a core fundamental of good swimming. And it’s not something that I teach at clinics.
Galloping -- or loping -- is something I’ve always done and it just feels very natural and comfortable to me. It works for me... but it may not work for everybody. It’s not something you should force yourself to do.
If you experiment with galloping, keep in mind that it’s a very individual thing. If it doesn’t feel natural, it’s probably not the right stroke for you.
And keep in mind that there’s more to my stroke than the gallop and the open hands -- things that are fundamental to fast swimming, no matter what kind of stroke you have. We’ll get to those things later in the video. But first let’s take a closer look at the gallop.
I’ve had a galloping stroke for so long that I don’t really think about. It just happens. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I feel more powerful on one side than the other, and I take advantage of that.
When we slow it down, you can see that I spend a little more time on my left side than on my right side. That’s because I feel more powerful on the left side.
The left hand extends and pauses out there for a little bit. And what I’m doing is setting up to get a massive pull with the left arm.
From this angle, you can see that even though I spend a little more time on my left side, I’m still rotating to both sides.
From the surface, it may not look like I’m rolling to both sides. It’s easy to notice the loping but not the rotation.
But from under the surface, you can see that I’m rolling to both sides. No matter what kind of stroke you have -- galloping or not galloping -- it’s still important to rotate and to get that balance on both sides.
With a loping stroke, it’s easier for me to get to my side because I have some momentum to get me there. I don’t force the rotation. It’s just a natural part of the gallop.
If you want to try this kind of stroke, it has to be natural and shouldn’t be forced.
Here’s what forced looks like. I can’t even come close to galloping on my other side. So if you try it and it looks like this, loping may not be right for you and you should take a look at the next section, where we look at one of the really fundamental parts of the stroke -- balance.