The swim stroke is one continuous cycle; there is really no first or last phase in the swim stroke. If one phase is performed incorrectly, the entire stroke suffers. However, we can break down the swim stroke into 5 phases to better understand how the stroke works to propel and accelerate your body:
- The First Phase is the Entry. The hands enter just outside the shoulder, rotate the arm to the midline and the palm is parallel to bottom of pool.
- Phase 2 is the Elbow Flexion where you bend at elbow. This phase prepares for the next phase which is the most powerful phase of the arm cycle.
- Phase 3 is Adduction where the movement of a limb to the midline of the body occurs; keeping the elbow bent, depress the shoulder and use the muscles of the back to bring your hand back to the body. This Phase accelerates movement and is the most powerful phase of the swim stroke.
- Phase 4 is the Release and Roundoff where you turn palms slightly out as if you are throwing a ball, release the shoulder, and the hands exit the water, pinky first.
- Phase 5 is the Recovery Phase where you relax the hand and bring the arm forward, the forearm and hand come forward and there is little tension.
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