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Coaches are always telling us to reach when we swim. But why is this so important? We can see the answer in Dave’s stroke.

Reaching all the way forward at the beginning of each strokes guarantees that you’ll have maximum time, and maximum range, to execute the most effective pull possible.

Watch how Dave stretches as far out front as possible to guarantee he’ll get as much out of each pull as he can.

Practicing this technique is as easy as adding a bit of glide to each stroke – stretching out as far as you can to prepare for each pull.

We also notice an added benefit of reaching full extension: great body position. Think of staying shallow when you extend forward and not diving too deep.

From the side we see what happens when you reach full extension and stay shallow. Dave’s body becomes a sleek torpedo. He’ll continue to move forward with little or no effort at all.

Common Errors
Many swimmers, especially young ones, are so anxious to get to their next pull that they have very limited extension. All their emphasis is put on pulling as hard and as far back and as quickly as possible. This causes more loss of rhythm and adds great resistance to their recovery.

As you being to pick up the pace, don’t shorten the stroke. Make the pull happen quicker, but continue to completely extend on each stroke.

Here you’ll notice that even though Dave is starting to swim faster, he reaches FULL extension on each stroke.

From under water, we see that Dave continues to extend his hands completely out front, being patient enough not to rush into the next pull or shorten his stroke.

As the glide begins to disappear, we’ll notice that Dave still reaches full extension. Maintaining full extension allows you to go faster.

Continue to focus on reaching full extension, even as you introduce more rhythm into the stroke.

As Dave increases the tempo to sprinting, notice how his hands still reach full extension before he starts to out-sweep and pull.

Remember: reach full extension on each stroke.