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Swimming a stroke in which the feet are kicked like paddles while the arms reach forward and pull back through the water
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the fastest and most popular stroke in short- and long-distance swimming. All contemporary world, Olympic, and national swimming records in freestyle (in which the swimmer can use any stroke) were established using the crawl. The stroke was first used in competition in the early 20th century.

In swimming the crawl face down, the swimmer's body lies freely on the surface of the water, and the face is submerged in the water so that the forehead and part of the top of the head are covered. The legs, stretched out freely to the tips of the toes, press up and down against the water, quickly and in turn, with springy movements; the heels reach the surface of the water. The feet are turned inward somewhat and limp. One leg presses down against the water, bending a little at the knee, while the other, being raised toward the surface, straightens. The amplitude of the leg movements is 40–50 cm. The legs work as close to each other as possible and, when the stroke is done properly, churn the water evenly.

The arms supply the main driving force in swimming the crawl; bent slightly at the elbow, they enter the water in front of the shoulders. The hand goes under first, followed by the forearm and shoulder. The arm is extended and simultaneously lowered. When it reaches an angle of 20°-30° to the water surface, it bends at the wrist and elbow to “grasp” the water better and strokes more rapidly. The palm passes under the body in a sagittal plane, and the stroke ends near the thigh. Stroking speed increases gradually. To increase the effectiveness of the stroke, the swimmer's palm changes position; at first the hand is bent at the wrist, then it gradually straightens. The stroke is long, powerful, and free. After stroking, the arm is drawn lightly out of the water near the thigh, is bent freely at the elbow, is carried forward in a circular motion, and begins a new stroke.

While one arm is stroking, the other is being carried forward above the water. To inhale, the head is turned to the side (right or left) at the end of the stroke so that the mouth is out of the water; the breath is taken at the moment when the arm is ending its stroke and beginning its movement above the water. Having inhaled, the swimmer turns his head face down, before the arm touches the water, and exhales. Both inhaling and exhaling are done through the mouth. For every two strokes with the arms, that is, one cycle of movement, the swimmer usually makes six kicks with his legs. Depending on the distance, the individual characteristics of the swimmer, the swimming speed, and so on, several deviations from the described technique of swimming the crawl are possible.

A. M. Shumin, V. V. Ushakov, N. S. Borisov, V. I. Sorokin, V. V. Bure, and other Soviet swimmers have made important contributions to the improvement of this technique. Soviet records in swimming the crawl, particularly at short distances for men, closely approximate world records. The crawl can also be done successfully on one's back.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The movement of paint in a wet paint film that does not remain evenly spread but redistributes itself after application, usually as a result of an imperfect bond with the surface.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


To search the Internet for hosts, Web pages or blogs. See spider.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Therefore web crawlers should update website content at a certain time interval and the content which needed to be crawled.
In comparison, when snails crawled vertically, speed was not correlated with foot length or shell length, but was negatively correlated with body mass.
(g) Percentage of crawling leukocytes that transmigrated: the number of crawled and then transmigrated leukocytes divided by the total number of crawling leukocytes (%).
Our approach allows us to overcome the Web 2.0 complexity and ensure that the crawled content is the same as a user would experience it.
[Brittany] is a hero though, because she crawled, found that phone and climbed up an incline to get service and save Kayla....
He then crawled up the main aisle to the Altar of Sword's Point in the Martyrdom where Archbishop Becket was assassinated by four knights in 1170.
A 45-YEAR-old man crawled for two hours to reach a telephone to call an ambulance after surviving a 100ft fall down a cliff.
After determining the location of the child's bedroom, and without regard for his personal safety, Sergeant Norwood entered the smoke-filled house, crawled up the stairs, and began to blindly search for the child.
A recent study of 351 infants found that those who slept on their stomachs rolled over, crawled, and pulled themselves to a standing position at a younger age than babies who slept on their backs.
A GIRL of nine who crawled into her blazing home to rescue her little brother has won one of the world's highest bravery awards.
I crawled in reality, each dead leg thrown from the hip like a sack of wheat while the weight of my upper body came down on hands spread-eagled against a two-inch thick mattress that smelled of all the bodies that had crawled through that rehab room before me.
He informed me when we arrived back in the trench that he had crawled until he could dimly see them working on the barbed wire and that he had come across no listening-post of theirs.