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Problem: Deep Arms

Newer swimmers tend to get their arms too deep on every stroke, while more experienced swimmers often get one arm too deep while breathing. There are lots of reasons not to get an arm deep:

  • Pressing down on the water does not move your body forward.
  • Pressing down levers your upper body towards the surface which will force your hips to sink.
  • Pressing down with a straight arm (and it should be straight after entering the water) overuses your shoulder muscles.
  • By the time your are pressing back with any force, your stroke is half over.
  • After getting an arm deep, you have to spend time and energy getting it out.
  • Lifting an arm out of the water does not provide forward propulsion.
  • Lifting an arm out of the water levers some other part of your body down.

Newer swimmers with deep arms tend wobble up-and-down or side-to-side, while more experienced swimmers learn to absorb the vertical forces by kicking harder or spending more energy to hold their core tight.

You can minimize the vertical forces, and the amount of time and energy wasted applying and reacting to those forces, by keeping your arms closer to the surface. This will also maximize the amount of time and energy available for forward propulsion, and minimize the effort required to move your body forward.

To correct the problem, see:
   Good Catch from the Side - How to start the early vertical forearm catch
   Good Pull from the side - How to pull after doing the above
   Breathe Early and Deep - How to leave the extended arm out front while breathing

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