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
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.
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.