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When I think about my pull, I’m actually thinking about my hips.

Watch this clip and you’ll see what I mean.

I start in streamline. Then I do two things: My hands pitch out and start to separate…and I start to pull my hips forward.

Here’s another cycle. The hands separate…as the hips come forward.

As the hands separate and the hips draw forward, notice that my chest and eyes also start to rise. But I don’t lift my head. I’m heading toward the surface because I’m pulling my hips forward.

Let’s watch a few cycles of this from under water. Forget all the other things I’m doing, and focus on how the separation of the hands is linked to the hips coming forward.

Here’s what that looks like from above water. Notice that as my hands separate and the top of my head appears, you can still a bit of my suit in the back. This means that my hips are still high. This is really important. You don’t want to drop the hips as you pull them forward. You want to keep them high.

Let’s watch some cycles from above water, focusing on how the hips stay high as I pull them forward.

Now let’s look at the widest part of the pull – the catch. I turn my hands toward the bottom and start to hold on to the water.

If you watch closely, you’ll see that I use the hands to help pull my hips forward. Let’s watch for that in slow motion.

In this next clip, watch my hands and hips. As I move from the catch to the insweep, I never stop pressing or holding on to the water. And I never stop pulling my hips forward.

One thing that everyone notices about my pull is that I bring my hands all the way to my chest. This close-up shows what I mean. Pulling all the way to the chest is something unique that I do in my stroke -- kind of like a signature. It’s right for me, but it may not be right for every swimmer. You can try it, but then you and your coach have to decide if it’s the best way for you to swim.

How far back you pull with your hands…or how wide you pull is not the most important thing in breaststroke. It’s how well you pull your hips forward.

Let’s watch another clip. Notice how the pull is linked to the hips. I use the pull to draw my hips forward. And I try to keep the hips as high as possible. Don’t let them drop.

As the hands reach my chest, the hips are all the way forward and my feet are at their highest point.

Here’s what that looks like from the surface. As the hands reach my chest, my head is at its highest point, my feet are at their highest point, and my hips are all the way forward.

Here you can just watch. Remember: Pull your hips forward.