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High Elbow Focus

The high elbow, early vertical forearm catch is preferred by most swimmers for endurance distances.

Technique Focus Points

  • Reach full extension. Do not cut your stroke short by initiating the catch before reaching full extension.
  • Catch first, then pull. After reaching full extension, be sure get your hand-wrist-forearm paddle vertical in the water before pulling back on your arm.
  • Pop. Many swimmers say they pop their elbow towards the surface as they are getting their hand and forearm under that elbow.

What to Watch For

  • Sore shoulders. If you are pulling too early (before the catch), you will be asking too much of some smaller shoulder muscles, and they will hurt.
  • Warm lats. If you are patient and begin your pull only after completing the catch, you will be engaging your lats early in the stroke cycle (this is a good burning feeling).
  • High hands on extension. If your hand is higher in the water than your elbow at full extension, you will have to work harder to get it under your elbow to perform a good catch.

High Elbow Focus Workouts

More Information

  • Video Clips - Arms - All of the clips on this page illustrate the high elbow, early vertical forearm catch.

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