FRONT CRAWL

Is a ‘survival style’ of swimming taught by Red Cross, LifeSaving Society, and YMCA ‘learn to swim’ programs with the specific focus on water safety: the goal is to prevent drownings by teaching how to “swim” short distances unassisted (e.g. to the side of a pool, or to a boat or platform in open water). The Front Crawl requires a low level of skill thus allowing it to be gained in a matter of hours. Teaching the Front Crawl also requires a low skill level, hence why it can be taught to Swim Instructors (aka Lifeguards) whose focus is primarily water safety and not performance in the sport of swimming. Learning to teach the Front Crawl requires a mere handful of hours in a Swim Instructor course.

FREESTYLE

Is a highly technical and complex pattern of movement intended for pursuing peak performance in the sports of competitive swimming, open water swimming and triathlon. Freestyle is a 3 dimensional pattern of movement involving the entire body in a series of highly coordinated and specific actions. The components of Freestyle are developed over hundreds of hours where the focus is on acquiring, developing and refining the posture, the positions and the techniques. Training begins with simple series of movement patterns and evolves in complexity as the level of skill integration increases and then accelerates in speed. Freestyle is taught by highly experienced individuals who are capable of identifying the individual needs of the athlete solving the challenges in their progression along the Freestyle learning curve.

Learning Freestyle starts with the 2 beat pattern, progressing to all 7 beat patterns.

Back Crawl ≠ Backstroke

Back Crawl ≠ Backstroke : same applies to the back crawl which is also taught as a survival stroke, versus the backstroke which is a competitive swimming stroke with technique comparable to that of Freestyle.

Frog Swim ≠ Breaststroke : the always head up style of frog swimming that many adults use (especially those who do not want to get their face or for that matter hair wet) is not equivalent to the breaststroke. The Breaststroke – like the Butterfly stroke – is again a 3 dimensional pattern of movement that involves coordinated movement in the pull, the roll in the body and the timing of the kick in order to be executed correctly, efficiently, effectively, with power and speed.

Why most find swimming exhausting & unenjoyable.

If all you and your swim/triathlon coach know is front crawl, back crawl and frog style swimming, then all you can do is try and force these non-competitive inefficient and ineffective movement patterns to try and ‘go fast’ by trying hard, and then harder and then harder still. Its no wonder that most find swimming exhausting, unenjoyable and depleting: you cannot bring a clunker of a car to a Formula1 race and expect high performance. To be competitive requires having the proper skill set to compete and that starts with learning the competitive version of all the swim strokes.

Problem is…. the overwhelming majority of swim instructors, swim coaches and triathlon coaches have no clue that there are competitive versions of all the strokes, let alone how to teach them.

Which leads to a universal experience….

Junior athletes (and their parents) believe that high performance arises from pushing themselves harder and harder to complete the workouts of their swim/triathlon coach, yet fail to make consistent progress and fail to understand why others do while they don’t. Resulting in the vast majority of junior swimmers quitting the sport when they stop growing (i.e. ages 12-16): the ‘easy’ gains from growing longer arms and legs are gone (which compensated for the lack of stroke skill), and the real training begins which requires competency in the competitive versions of all the strokes.

Masters athletes – both swim club and triathletes – resign themselves to the excuse of ‘old age’ or not having been a junior swimmer to explain their inability to make progress. As a result, they turn to paddle and pull buoy workouts and depend on their wetsuit in open water settings to survive.

There is another way: no matter the age, no matter the skill level or experience, anyone can learn proper Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Butterfly technique. Which means that fun-filled swim sessions are a reality for anyone who wants to take their swimming out of survival mode and into competitive mode.

It must be noted that learning proper 2 beat technique in any swim stroke requires a substantial amount of core strength, body awareness and coordination (hence the rapid success of a former dancer such as Penny Oleksiak to Olympic level swimmer and Canada’s most decorated Olympian). Athletes lacking these athletic attributes will require dryland training (i.e. gym training aka strength & conditioning) to develop the base needed for success in the competitive strokes. This is why we believe that no training program is complete without dryland, hence why we offer dryland as part of our programs.

No National or International level athlete swims FRONT CRAWL

The FRONT CRAWL is an appropriate level of swimming ability for those who intend to pursue and complete Red Cross, LifeSaving Society, and YMCA swim levels and is sufficient for those who want to become Swim Instructors and Lifeguards.

The FRONT CRAWL is sufficient to keep novice to sport level athletes who enjoy water sports such as snorkeling, scuba, recreational swimming, water skiing, and windsurfing, safe and independent while in the water as it reduces the risk of drowning.

The FRONT CRAWL is insufficient technical swimming ability to train and to compete in the sports of competitive swimming, open water swimming, and triathlon. Athletes interested in pursuing competitive swimming and triathlon need to progress to FREESTYLE swimming technique.

How to tell if you/your athlete swims Front Crawl or Freestyle?

If they…

– Wiggle like spaghetti or fish tail side to side while swimming,
– Is trying to “push” water backwards with their arm pull,
– Trains overwhelmingly with pull buoys and paddles,
– Does not kick or has little power or intent to their kick,
– Does not coordinate the pull of the stroke to the kick of the stroke,
– Does not time the location of breathing to the rhythm of their stroke,
– Does not have multiple gears in their stroke to switch through,
– Does not modulate body line and position to improve their torque curve,
– Does not know how to go faster without trying harder,
– Is confused by why they seem to be unable to get any faster despite trying hard,
– Paces in competition by perceived effort as opposed to technique,
– Is exhausted or is unable to comfortably swim continuous laps.

They are not swimming FREESTYLE, they are swimming FRONT CRAWL.

If you currently train with a swim or triathlon team, club or coach, and upon asking them what is the difference between the Front Crawl and Freestyle, if you receive either a blank stare or the question back “there is a difference?“…. you are with the wrong team, the wrong club, the wrong coach.

If you currently train with a swim or triathlon team, club or coach, and all that your coach provides are training sets, then you don’t have a coach, what you have is an app or a workout algorithm, that’s it.

A real coach/team develops the skill level of athletes.

If you are seeking peak performance and your potential as a competitive swimmer and/or triathlete – which does not come at the expense of your mental, emotional, or physical health – then join us: the one and only source for 2beat swim training. Not convinced? Check out our result pages to find example after example of non and new swimmers who learnt how to swim properly and translated their joy for swimming to fun times and success at masters swim meets, open water events, and triathlons. Come join us!