Around the Barrel in Freestyle

Shake and Swim with ‘Bake’

Around the Barrel in Freestyle

by Dennis Baker

Many good swim coaches will tell you as you pull down underwater in your Freestyle to pull “around the barrel”.  I agree this is a great visualization for the correct underwater recovery.  Let’s look at some do’s and don’ts while practicing a high elbow underwater pull down.

  1. Start your pull down from just under the water near the surface of the water. Don’t plunge your arm/hand too deep on entry.
  2. Keep your shoulder high and thrust it forward as you pull down.
  3. Pull deep. I see many swimmers pull down and around too shallow, taking away power, and usually the elbow is leading the arm, which isn’t good.
  4. Don’t pull too far back. This will pull your shoulder back too far and take it out of a power position.  Also this can lead to bad body position and over or bad rotation.
  5. Disregard any previous learning of the “S” curve or “Question Mark” curve in your pull down. This has scientifically been proven to be less powerful than the straight down pull.  You will have some slight natural inward pull because of the way your arm is built.  To add to that creates resistance and loss of power.
  6. Think: pull straight down and use the side of your body as a guide.

Try these suggestions and tips and you will be well on your way to getting ‘around the barrel’ and a better Freestyle.

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