We focused on freestyle recovery today by using a progression that began with the zipper drill and advanced to the fingertip drag. From there we went to the head-tap drill and even experimented with a straight-arm recovery.
Here is an excellent summary of the recovery from “Developing Swimmers,” the super-helpful book by Michael Brooks:
‘On your side, elbow high’
“Swimmers should finish the pull on the side and recover the arm by lifting the elbow instead of throwing the arm from the shoulder. The recovery arm is kept close to the body (see photo), relaxed and effortless.
The recovery should look easy from the pool deck and feel easy when performed. This sort of recovery is also much easier on the shoulders, keeps the body in its long line, and leads to consistent entry positions and thus consistent catch points.
Common stroke faults:
Swimmers often display wild, throwing, jerking recoveries, which may be coupled with breathing problems (head lifting, throwing and ducking), crossing over the midline at the head entry, wide sideways sculling at the front of the pull, and swaying sideways with the hips and legs. In this situation you can see the equal and opposite reactions of swimming – one problem causes several others.