Researched, produced, and prepared by Brent S. Rushall, Ph.D., R.Psy.


The following collage of sequences from some of the world's best crawl strokers is presented as a teaching aid in Dr. Rushall's Stroke Clinics. Each item is presented to show important features of the stroke that should be adapted to each individual's capabilities.

Grant Hackett at Fukuoka 1997

This series shows Grant Hackett's set-up of his right arm stroke. Repositioning begins with a bend at the wrist and elbow. At the same time, the upper arm medially rotates causing the elbow and upper arm to stay high and near the surface although the hand and forearm move rapidly downward (the "elbow-up" position). In frame #9 the forearm/hand-propelling surface is almost vertical while the upper arm is still stretched fully forward and just beginning to be adducted. This powerful position means a large propelling surface, one that also includes the upper arm, is swept backward by the large frontal and dorsal rotator muscles which cause adduction. This sequence shows how Grant Hackett achieves a very long effective stroke length.

Claudia Poll at Perth

The high elbow-up position that is a prerequisite for good crawl-stroke swimming is displayed in this sequence of Claudia Poll. Frame #3 shows good medial rotation of the upper arm with the elbow still near the surface although the forearm/hand-propelling surface approaches vertical. After repositioning very quickly following entry, the main propulsive surface comprises the hand, forearm, and upper arm surface until extension at the elbow is required (frame #6). Claudia Poll's classic large two-beat kick is very evident.

Alexandre Popov at Perth

Although Alexandre Popov is a "sprinter," his arm movements contain the same elements as those of Claudia Poll and Grant Hackett. Repositioning of the hand/forearm-propelling surface occurs immediately after entry, the elbow and upper arm stay high, and propulsion occurs through adduction using the full arm surface, which includes the upper arm.

Janet Evans at Barcelona

This sequence illustrates the exact streamlining that Janet Evans attained during non-breathing strokes. The "straightness" from fingertips to toes in frame #1 is perfect. As with the other swimmers, and in particular Claudia Poll, after entry Janet Evans immediately commences the repositioning of her hand/forearm propelling surface and medial rotation of the upper arm to eventually achieve an elbow-up position.

While these examples primarily show the repositioning of the hand/forearm that initiates a stroke as well as powerful adduction that anchors the full arm and drives the body past its position in the water, arm extension in the latter part of the stroke is not illustrated. That stroke part is important and must continue accelerating the swimmer forward until the "round-out" movement that extracts the arm at exit occurs.

crawl Stroke

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