Swimmers have different freestyle strokes, but a few fundamentals will help any swimmer move through the water more efficiently. Below, six-time Ironman World Champion and triathlon fitness coach Dave Scott, who was recently inducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame, breaks down three simple keys. [View STACK's exclusive interview with Scott.]
Body alignment and positioning start with the head. In the water, the head should look directly down the lane, and the neck and spine should be perfectly straight. This will put the body in the best position to swim in a straight line.
Focus your eyes about five or six feet in front of you, no further. This will keep your head in position and keep you swimming straight. Focusing too far ahead or directly down can cause the neck to tilt up or down.
When placing your hand in the water during a stroke, all four fingers should enter the water first. The fingers should be lined up straight, halfway between a full arm extension and the top of your head—the ideal entry point for generating maximum force. Over- or under-extending the hand makes for a less effective stroke.
For more efficient swimming tips from Dave Scott, check out this interview, courtesy of ACTIVEdotCOM.