Swimming Sessions

Swimming Sessions

Coached swimming sessions take place at Wimbledon College, Edge hill, with two sessions every Monday (except Bank Holidays) at 19:15 and 20:15

On the night cost is £8.00 to cover the pool hire and swimming technique/fitness instructor. Make sure you email in advance to check there is space.

For any questions, please email tri @windmilers.org.uk

Coaching Notes - from Andy - Swimming instructor



The arms and the hands will provide the vast majority of the propulsion achieved when swimming front crawl and therefore achieving good technique may make a significant difference to your speed.

However, the movement and alignment of your arms will also have a significant effect on your body position and streamlining, so by improving your technique, you will also increase your speed by achieving a more streamlined position in the water.

So, let’s take a look at the two distinct phases of the arm movements, these being the ARM RECOVERY AND THE PROPULSIVE PHASE.



The recovery of your arms, back to the position where they can contribute to propulsion is very important, as a good arm recovery will help to maintain good streamlining and good alignment of the hands and arms.

A good recovery action will assist with achieving the following

Keep the body streamlined by minimising the body’s profile.
Enable the hands to achieve the correct entry position.
Enable the arm to ‘extend’ and thus engage the stronger muscles of the upper body.
Allow muscles to relax a little.

After the propulsive phase, your elbow should be the first part of your arm to exit the water and should remain higher than your hand throughout the recovery phase. Your hand should remain close to your body line and this will ensure that the muscles used in propulsion have the opportunity to relax a little and will help with body rotation.


When you analyse the front crawl stroke, we get about 80-90% of our propulsion (depending on strength of leg kick) from our arm action. When our arms are recovering, they add no propulsion, therefore, all propulsion gained is from the movement of the arms under water (the propulsive phase).


The hand should enter the water, just before full extension and with the fingers pointed slightly downwards. At this point, the swimmer has a couple of options.


To extend the arm and hand, so that the hand remains close to the surface. The fingers should then point slightly downwards, with the hand and the arm, starting to move to the catch position.


To extend the arm and hand, so that when fully extended, the hand is approximately 4-6 inches below the surface, with the fingers still pointing slightly downwards. The hand and the arm, starting to move to the catch position.


There are examples of both methods in the clip below. Michael Phelps, in particular, tends to use method 2.




A lot of coaches refer to the catch taking place at the front-end of the stroke, soon after the hand has entered the water. Yes, you can get a ‘feel’ for the water at this stage, but my view is that the real CATCH occurs when the hand and forearm are in a position to gain maximum propulsion.

To achieve a good catch position, the elbow will need to stay high in the water, with it remaining close to the surface. This will engage the surface area of the hand and the forearm. Don’t try to apply too much effort, too early and allow the arm and hand to move into the correct position first.

Throughout the propulsive phase, the hand will need to remain in as straight a line through the stroke as possible, thus achieving maximum propulsion in the direction you want to go. Once the arm and hand are in the correct position, then you need to accelerate through the stroke, until the hand exits at your thigh.

Let’s stick with the same YouTube clip as previously used, to try and demonstrate the points I’ve made. Take a look at each point made in turn.


Hand entry

High elbow, engaging the surface area of the forearm.

Allowing the hand and arm to move into position, before accelerating.

Full stroke and acceleration through to the thigh

Andy and the swim team.