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Freestyle 1 Introduction

Program Goals
When you complete this program, you should understand how to perform an economical freestyle stroke. How far you progress towards mastery depends on how effectively you practice, and how completely you master the essential elements of the stroke.

There is a progression to the skills that are taught in this program. If you miss a lesson, do not worry that you will not be able to catch up. Owing to the progressive nature of the program, each lesson begins with a review of the previous lesson.
Regarding missed lessons, we cannot schedule individual make-up sessions, we cannot pro-rate the tuition, and it is not possible to attend a lesson for the same program at another location.

Practice Between Lessons
When learning new movement skills, frequent, short, focused practice sessions work best for most people. To learn a new body movement, you will be much more successful doing four 30-minute practices a week than you will be doing two 60-minute practices. With most drills, the intensity level is relatively low, so you can schedule swimming practice following any of your other workouts at the gym or nearby to the pool.

How to Practice
Swimming any stroke is a complex, non-intuitive, whole-body movement art that is best learned slowly, in small steps. Do not be too eager to begin swimming your "new" whole-stroke freestyle. And do not be alarmed by the fact that during the early lessons, you will not be doing much whole-stroke swimming. Instead, you will be training your body to perform smaller movements that are part of the whole stroke.

Each drill is an exaggeration of one or more aspects of a stroke. With most drills, you will be given a list of things to focus on (your head position or arm extension, for example). Remember to focus on just one thing at a time. With slow, mindful repetitions of the drills, you will "burn" the correct movements for the stroke into your muscle memory. To swim with economy and flow, all movements must become automatic.

All of the drills in the freestyle progression, including the most basic ones, are used by expert swimmers on a regular basis. Although the drills are progressive, that does not mean that you will ever stop performing the more basic drills. As in virtually all other sports, the best swimmers always return to the fundamentals, and they will tell you that they learn something new every time they cycle through a progression of drills.

Unless you are in the middle of your competitive season, we strongly recommend that you practice nothing but the drills and exercises recommended for the current lesson. If you are in season, or are already swimming the stroke comfortably (what are you doing here?), you can mix drills with whole-stroke swimming, focusing on incorporating one new habit at a time. Drilling for a little bit and then going back to swimming your "old" stroke will only reinforce the automatic muscle movements that you are trying to change.

Required Equipment
Goggles and a snug-fitting bathing suit are required for all technique programs. No pool tools are required, but for swimmers with severe kicking or sinking issues, short fins may be useful, since they provide the propulsion necessary to learn the basic breathing and balance skills. We recommend Zura Alpha fins (which float and help to keep your feet near the surface), or Blue Zoomers (not Red Zoomers). Required and optional pool tools for all programs are described on the following page:

Lesson Cancellations Policy
At the first lesson, please check your contact information (phone number and email address) that was provided to Breakwater Sports on the program roster. In the event of a cancellation due to inclement weather or a pool problem, we will make every effort to notify everybody as soon as the situation is known, by sending an email and calling the phone numbers listed on the roster. When a lesson is cancelled, the program will be extended by one lesson. Usually this means just adding a week to the program.

Lesson Plans Online
Lesson plans are available online from the webpage below:

Note: Do not look too far ahead in the lesson plans. They are constantly being revised.


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