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Integrating the High Elbow Catch with Proper Body Rotation

Two of the most essential elements of a fast, efficient Freestyle stroke are the High Elbow Catch (a.k.a. Early Vertical Forearm or EVF) and connecting the stroke with proper body rotation. For many, it’s not always a simple matter to perfect these important elements in the pool alone. That’s why many coaches rely on a dry land swim bench like the Vasa Swim Ergometer as a teaching & training platform.

Top swim coaches report that since mistakes or very subtle changes in the pull can occur underwater where often the coach cannot see it. Use of the Vasa Swim Erg or Vasa Trainer swim benches provide the coach with a great opportunity to give precise instruction and feedback that allows the swimmer to better understand the correct stroke mechanics the coach is seeking.

Optimal body position and stroke technique are crucial for a fast swim, but they’re not the only key elements. Applying more force to the water throughout each stroke—while maintaining correct technique and body position—will also make you go faster, often with little or no increase in exertion.

Here are two short instructional videos that teach how to make improvements in Freestyle. Presenter, Coach Karlyn Pipes, demonstrates how these can lead to a higher sustained power and efficiency in the water.


High Elbow Catch

In this Freestyle swimming technique training video, Coach and World champion swimmer Karlyn Pipes demonstrates the essential techniques needed for developing an efficient, powerful Freestyle stroke. It shows how to access the powerful muscles of the lats and upper back throughout a race of any distance, while reducing overload to the shoulders and biceps tendon.


Better Body Rotation

Coach Pipes shows how to perform an efficient, powerful body rotation in Freestyle. Connecting the core & hip rotation muscles with a shoulder shift and high elbow catch enables the athlete to access the powerful muscles of the core, lats and upper back. Often swimmers confuse hip roll and rotation and end up rolling too much on their side and “gliding” too long, thus creating a non-optimal position and more drag in the water. Today’s best swimmers use just enough rotation and shoulder shift, which can be practiced perfectly on the Vasa Swim Ergometer. This makes it easier to integrate that efficient technique to swimming in the pool or open water.



Watch the full Faster Freestyle Swimming clinic video series here.