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In this clip, Scott is swimming race-pace freestyle. What you notice right away is that he has a straight-arm recovery…rather than a bent-arm or high-elbow recovery.
After hundreds of hours of experimentation, Scott has found that this is the style that works best for him.
Will a straight-arm recovery work for you? Maybe…maybe not. This is something only you and your coach can decide. The important thing is to keep an open mind…and to experiment.
Scott has a unique recovery. But rather than look at how it’s different, let’s look at the things Scott does, that every swimmer can do.
Watch Scott’s hands…and notice how relaxed they are as he recovers them over the water.
Here’s Scott at a nice easy pace. The hands come up and over the top with no tension and no strain. The arm is relaxed from fingertips to shoulder.
Here’s another angle at easy pace. By keeping the hand and arm relaxed, Scott gets a brief rest on every stroke. And by almost “throwing” the hand up and over, he uses the weight of the arm to create forward momentum.
As Scott begins to pick up the pace, his stroke rate increases and he lets go of the “catch-up” or “front-quadrant” aspect of his stroke. But keep an eye on his hands. They’re still relaxed, even as he increases his cadence.
As Scott increases to race pace, he almost whips his arms around. He’s swimming aggressively, and has lost much of his front-quadrant timing, but the hands and arms are still relaxed.
Here’s that same, race-pace clip, slowed down so you can focus on the hands.
Let’s watch Scott one more time at slow pace. Notice the relaxed quality.
And one more time at race pace – still relaxed. Everything Scott practices at slow speed is there when he swims fast.
No matter which style of recovery is best for you – bent arm or straight arm – the key is to keep it relaxed. Develop this quality at slow speeds…
Then pick up the pace.