Freestyle Swimming Glide


Smooth stroke


There are two very common mistakes in freestyle. They both have to do with the “reach”.

This is what it looks like without a freestyle reach:

This is what it looks like with a reach.


Reasons why is important

There are a few reasons why swimming with a glide is better than swimming without it. Here are a few of them: 

  • Swimming with a reach allows you to pull with bigger group muscles like your back and chest as opposed to just your shoulder when you do not reach and rotate.

  • You pull more water by reaching further thus you move faster with more less effort.


  • In a tight race, the reach phenomenon will help you out-touch the other swimmers.


Common Mistake

One of the most common mistake while gliding is crossing over the line of action of your body.

Crossing over your body line.

This happens often specially when you take a breath.This will throw your body off balance and you will swim in a zig zag instead of a straight line.

So it is very important to reach and keep a straight line, but how do you do this?


How to Fix it

We have designed the following 4 drills to help you.


1. Look up Drill

The first and easiest way is to watch your hands. Just look up a little bit more than normal and check to see if you are reaching out correctly, by rotating and extending your arm. Be sure you are not crossing over.

You can practice this movement on land too.


*If you need more visual feedback ask a friend to record you while you swim.*


2. Reach and Back Drill

Do a normal freestyle stroke except this time keep that arm in front, then pull it back a little and reach in front again. This will create muscle memory for that movement. 


3. One Paddle Drill

Another exercise is by pulling with only one paddle. You will notice that you will glide more with the hand that doesn’t have a paddle. That is because you need speed to glide and you will have more speed when the arm with a paddle while pulling.


4. Pole Drill

You can also ask a friend or your coach to put a pole in front of you to make sure you are not crossing your arms when you reach. If you touch the pole you are crossing and you can adjust right there.

By Raul & Mauricio Uranga, last updated Jul. 13, 2020

Practice these 4 drills and you will realize how much easier and relaxed your freestyle stroke will feel.

Thanks for being a part of this community.

See you next time!

Swim fast!

Do not forget to share this information and drills with your friends! Our goal is to make everyone better swimmers!

¡Thank you!


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3 years ago

Hello everyone, I used to swim for 6 years as a kid in sport school and 4 years at the university now, 5 years later, I’ve started my practice again, and thanx to this tutorials it is going great, more thoughtful than ever before! It feels like i’m reopening swimming for miself from the very begining!! Awesome experince I should say! Thanx a lot to creators!!

Swim fast:)