There is specific intent to the title having the word ‘stroke’ pluralized to ‘strokes‘: because there is no one single solitary technique that is Freestyle.
Many swimmers and swim coaches seem to be under the belief that there is one and only one version of Freestyle with the belief extending to the belief that if a swimmer would learn the one version, then that swimmer would go onto to set endless personal records, and qualify for whatever level of competition they seek.
Think about it. Because when you do… you will realize it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever that there would be one way of swimming for all events. It makes no sense whatsoever that there would be one way to swim sprint events like the 50m FR and that one way would be equally suited to distance events like the 800 or 1500m FR or to open water swimming events such as the 10km marathon swim.
Would the running technique used by Usain Bolt in the 100m work equally to run the 10,000 or the marathon events in track & field? No way. So why would anyone suggest that a swimming sprint event should be swam with the exact same technique as a distance event, or an open water event?
FYI… THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS STROKE NIRVANA
Stroke nirvana is a cover for coach laziness, for coach complacency, for coach ignorance, for coaches who do not give a rip… about swimmers, about swimming, about the sport, about excellence, about performance, about an athlete’s potential. Stroke nirvana is a cope out for coaches allowing them to claim a paycheque without actually coaching.
BTW… underwater video footage which leads to a coach offering ‘stroke correction’ for your entry, catch, or recovery are useless when an athlete swims using the Front Crawl. What’s the point in perfecting a stroke which is absolutely useless to performance swimming because of its inefficiency (i.e. low power / high drag creation)? No competitive swimmer or triathlete races with Front Crawl… so why waste your time, your money, your energy, your effort in perfecting something which is pointless to perfect (and with a coach who knows no different)?
Here is a Youtube video from The Race Club head coach 3 time US Olympian Gary Hall Sr who was also a World Record holder in the 200m Butterfly providing a brief overview of the two foundational forms of the Freestyle stroke and one derivative form of the stroke:
– Freestyle with a Hip driven stroke (foundational);
– Freestyle with a Shoulder driven stroke (foundational);
– Freestyle with an alternating Hip – Shoulder driven stroke (derivative).
Note: video is dated Feb 2011, so none of this is brand spanking new technique, in fact, Freestyle technique has evolved since this video.