Parenting Tips

How To Learn Freestyle Swimming Technique For Beginners

How To Learn Freestyle Swimming Technique For Beginners
10 Jun 2024

Freestyle swimming is one of the most popular and efficient swimming strokes. While freestyle swimming may initially pose challenges for beginners, including children, with consistent practice, patience, and proper instruction, it can become an achievable and enjoyable skill to learn.

In this guide, we'll break down the basics of freestyle swimming technique for beginners, provide step-by-step instructions, and offer tips on how to increase your skills.

How To Learn Freestyle Swimming Technique

Learning freestyle swimming technique is not that simple. But with the right guidance and practice, you can actually develop the confidence and proficiency to glide effortlessly through the water like a seasoned swimmer.

Here we'll break down the step-by-step process of learning freestyle swimming technique you should know:

A. Body Position

Maintaining a horizontal body position is crucial for minimizing drag and maximizing efficiency in freestyle swimming. Keeping your head aligned with your spine helps streamline your body, reducing resistance as you move through the water. 

Engaging your core muscles helps stabilize your body and keeps your hips from dropping, which can slow you down. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Begin by standing in the water up to chest level.
  • Push off the wall or start from a floating position.
  • Keep your body in a horizontal line, parallel to the surface of the water.
  • Position your head in line with your spine, looking down towards the bottom of the pool.
  • Engage your core muscles to maintain stability and prevent your hips from sinking.

B. Arm Movement

The pulling phase generates the majority of propulsion in freestyle swimming. By sweeping your arm in a fluid motion from extension to recovery, you maximize the surface area of your hand and forearm to push against the water. 

The recovery phase allows your arm to rest momentarily before initiating the next stroke. Focus on maintaining a high elbow position during the pull and minimizing resistance by keeping your hand and forearm oriented backward.

Here’s what you can do to exercise your arm movement in freestyle swimming technique:

  • Extend one arm forward, reaching towards the front of the pool.
  • Rotate your body slightly to the side, with the extended arm slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • As you begin the pulling phase, bend your elbow and sweep your hand down and towards your hip in an S-shaped motion.
  • Keep your forearm facing backward to maximize propulsion.
  • Once your hand reaches your hip, lift it out of the water and extend it forward for the recovery phase.
  • Simultaneously, initiate the pulling motion with the opposite arm, maintaining a continuous and fluid movement.

C. Breathing Technique

Proper breathing is essential for sustaining effort and maintaining rhythm in freestyle swimming. Timing your breaths with the rotation of your body helps minimize disruptions to your stroke and allows for efficient exchange of oxygen. 

By exhaling steadily while your face is submerged and inhaling quickly during the recovery phase, you can optimize your breathing pattern and conserve energy. Here’s how to do the proper breathing technique for this swimming technique:

  • Time your breathing with the rotation of your body during the arm recovery phase.
  • As your recovering arm exits the water, rotate your head to the side to inhale.
  • Aim to keep one ear in the water and one ear above the waterline.
  • Take a quick, efficient breath and return your face to the water before beginning the next arm stroke.
  • Exhale slowly and steadily through your nose and mouth while your face is submerged.

D. Flutter Kick

The flutter kick provides stability and propulsion, helping to maintain forward momentum and balance in freestyle swimming. By generating a continuous kicking motion from your hips, you engage the large muscles in your legs to drive you through the water. 

Keeping your legs relatively straight and your kick compact reduces drag and allows for smoother movement. Coordination with your arm strokes helps maintain rhythm and balance in your stroke. Here’s how to do it:

  • Position your legs close together with your toes pointed slightly downward.
  • Initiate the kick from your hips, keeping your knees relatively straight but not locked.
  • Use a quick and continuous up-and-down motion, with your ankles relaxed and flexible.
  • Keep the kick relatively small and compact to minimize drag and maintain forward momentum.
  • Coordinate the flutter kick with your arm strokes to maintain balance and streamline.

E. Putting It All Together

Bringing everything together involves achieving propulsion, minimizing resistance, and coordinating movements seamlessly. Ultimately, excelling in freestyle swimming requires a blend of effective arm and leg techniques, maintaining optimal body position, and synchronizing timing.

Since there isn't a single perfect freestyle stroke for everyone, it's essential to explore various approaches and discover the one that suits you best. Throughout this process, concentrate on maximizing pressure during arm movements, minimizing unnecessary spinal motion, and identifying a timing rhythm that feels most comfortable and efficient for you.

Need Help in Swimming?

Mastering freestyle swimming technique opens up a world of possibilities for both fitness and enjoyment in the water. If your children show an interest in swimming, as parents, consider enrolling them in a swimming program at Rockstar Academy

Their swimming curriculum not only focuses on developing essential skills but also provides opportunities for events and competitions like RockOlympics.

RockOlympics serves as an opportunity for students to show their potential and promote higher standards of achievement and sportsmanship. Additionally, Rockstar Academy also offers a free trial class for those interested, so don't hesitate to contact them and embark on a journey of skill development and fun-filled experiences in the water!


How long does it take to learn freestyle swimming?

The time it takes to learn freestyle swimming varies depending on individual factors such as fitness level, coordination, and previous swimming experience. With consistent practice and dedication, most beginners can become proficient within a few weeks to a few months.

Do I need special equipment to learn freestyle swimming?

While not necessary, certain equipment can aid in learning and improving freestyle technique. This includes swim goggles to protect your eyes and provide clear vision underwater, a swim cap to reduce drag, and a kickboard or pull buoy for drills and resistance training.

I feel out of breath when swimming freestyle. What can I do?

Focus on rhythmic breathing and exhale fully underwater to avoid feeling breathless. Practice bilateral breathing (inhaling on both sides) to increase lung capacity and endurance. Gradually increase the distance and intensity of your swims to improve cardiovascular fitness.

How can I prevent shoulder pain while swimming freestyle?

Proper technique and shoulder stability exercises can help prevent shoulder pain and injury. Ensure that your arm enters the water at the correct angle and avoid overreaching. Incorporate shoulder strengthening exercises such as external rotations and lat pulldowns into your dryland routine.