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The Freestyle

This is the most popular stroke for beginners to learn. It is a simple flutter kick and windmill arm motion, like  the backstroke, only on your belly. The most difficult part is coordinating the breathing since your face is in the water most of the time.
The main propulsive force of the freestyle stroke is the arm cycle. The legs add only 10% of total speed through the water, depending on whether you use a 2-, 4-, 6-, or 8-beat kick. The main function of the legs is to help keep the body balanced and efficient to allow the arms to do their work and keep the body moving when the arm cycle is at its weakest point. The following list briefly illustrates the arm cycle:  
Elbow leaves the water first, with a high elbow, hand relaxed directly under the elbow, trailing fingers on the water, then  reach forwards to the entry position  
Entry & Catch  
Thumb first, hand slightly cupped, reach further forwards and out (laterally) to 'catch' the water to prepare for the out sweep - dropping the shoulder (upon the reach) slightly will help in the 'catch' and also in the recovery of the other arm  
Out Sweep  
Press the water laterally to the body with only slight elbow flexion and begin to rotate the hand at the wrist medially  
In Sweep  
Press the water towards the hips through further flexion of the elbow and wrist as you feel the body being pulled over the  hand  
With the hand at the hip and palm facing towards the feet, press the water back by extending the arm to approximately 90% of full extension, keeping in line with the body to reduce drag. The arm is ready for the recovery, elbow first!  
The Freestyle Flip Turn (when swimming the crawl)  
There are a couple of options for turning around when you reach the wall during lap swimming. You can simply touch the wall  and turn around and start swimming again or you can do a flip turn. The flip turn is essentially a somersault in the water  where you flip and turn and use your legs to power-kick off the wall. The flip turn, when completed properly, is fast, efficient,  and time-saving. If you've ever watched Olympic swimming, you see the swimmers gracefully execute their flip turns. Here are the basics.  
Start the somersault before reaching the wall by tucking the chin and pulling the knees into a tuck position.  
Blow out air to avoid inhaling water.  
Straighten out the body-tuck halfway through the flip and extend the legs toward the wall.  
You will be on your back at this point.  
Push off the wall.  
Roll over onto the belly and glide toward the surface of the water.  
Hold the glide until you break the surface of the water, and then start stroking immediately.  
The flip turn takes practice, but with consistent work, you can master it. It's worth trying if you swim laps for exercise.  

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