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For me, freestyle pull is all about the catch, so everything I do with the arms is meant to help set up a good catch.
I use a bent-elbow recovery and try to point my fingertips at the lane lines. I also keep the hands relaxed but not limp. You don’t want to swim with your hands all tensed up.
I get my hand in the water just slightly above my head...and then slide it forward through the water.
From under water, you can see how sliding the hand forward helps me set up the catch.
And at the catch, the biggest thing to focus on is the wrist.
A lot of swimmers will start the catch like this -- by just bending their hand. You don’t want a limp wrist.
You want your wrist to be stable so it becomes a solid connection point between your hand and your arm. The idea is to grab water with your entire arm -- from your elbow all the way through to your fingertips.
I focus on keeping the elbow high as I catch, and on forming a straight surface from fingertips to elbow.
That’s where you get your power, and the more connected you can be from your fingertips through the wrist, elbow, shoulder, and all the way down the side of your body, the more water you’re going to hold and the faster you’re going to go.
I put the emphasis on the front third of the pull -- on the catch and holding on to the water -- but I also think about finishing my pull out the back side as well. I make sure I get that full extension out the back.