Endurance swimmers need to develop a long stroke, which means
- Catching the water as far out in front of the body as possible, and
- Pressing back towards the feet for as long a possible during the pull.
The catch used by endurance swimmers (and many sprinters) is called the
Early Vertical Forearm Catch, or the EVF, for short.
Technique Focus Points
- Release the bubbles. Do not begin the catch too early. There
is a pause as your arm reaches full extension. If there are still bubbles
trapped under your hand when you begin your stroke, your paddle (your
hand, wrist and forearm) will slip in the water.
- Pop and point. To begin the catch, pop your elbow towards the
surface and point your fingertips at the bottom, keeping your wrist
straight. This should get your hand under your elbow, so that your hand-wrist-elbow
paddle is vertical in the water. This all happens before you begin pulling
on that arm.
- Catch and drive. This is the "pull". It's a timing
thing. The instant your stroking arm catches, the recovering arm drives
forward into the water. You are using both arms to move your body over
a spot in the water. By acting as an anchor on one side of your body,
your catching arm transfers the energy from the forward-moving arm into
propulsion for your body. If you have not anchored your stroking hand
and forearm when the recovering arm enters the water, that energy is
lost - your recovering arm is just poking the water.
What to Watch For
- No bubbles during the catch or pull. (Bubbles are for
- Fingers should not be pointing under your body or to
the outside (they should point forward during extension, and down at
- Do not pull the elbow back ahead of the hand. When this
happens, the blade of your paddle (your hand and forearm) is tilted.
Make sure your hand is under your forearm before beginning your pull.
- Sore elbow. The most likely cause is that you are pulling
too early and focused on your hand instead of your hand/forearm paddle.
- Sore shoulder. This can mean that you are pulling too
early, or that you are not rotating onto the other side as you pull.
EVF Focus Workouts
- Video Clips - See the Arms
Return to Workout Index.
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