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Front Quadrant Focus

Front-quadrant swimming means that you have one or both arms out in front of your torso for most of the stroke cycle. The hard part is learning to keep the extended arm still out front, while the other arm keeps moving. Our bodies want to be symmetrical when it comes to moving our arms or legs. Symmetrical movements work well for walking and cycling, or for that matter for backstroke, breaststroke, or butterfly. But not for endurance freestyle swimming. We need to condition our neuromusclar system to move our arms asymmetrically.

Technique Focus Points

  • Wait! Wait! with the extended arm. Do not begin your catch too early. There is a slight pause as your arm reaches full extension.
  • Extend! Catch! Pull! And be sure to separate the catch from the pull.
  • Hurry! Hurry! with the recovering arm. Get that recovering arm back out in front quickly. Once you begin your pull, the arm does not stop until it is out front again.
  • Pull AND Push in the Front Quadrant. Just as your stroking arm catches, the recovering arm drives past it. That "balance point" is in the front quadrant.

What to Watch For

  • Your head leading. Always have at least one arm in front of your head.
  • A dead spot at the end of the stroke. When you focus on the "wait, wait" out front, you tend to stop your stroking arm at the end of the stroke. Once you begin a stroke, keep that arm moving until it gets back out front.
  • Stalling or sinking.When you focus on the pause out front, you tend to slow your recovery motion, which means the weight of that recovering arm is out of the water for too long. That will make you stall and sink.

Front Quadrant Focus Workouts

More Information

  • Video Clips - Arms - See the "3L/3R Single-Arm Drill", and the "Catch-Up Drill". Almost all of the "Arms" video clips from Glenn Mills illustrate good front-quadrant swimming, for example the "Practice the Catch" clip is good in this respect.

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