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Related to front crawl: butterfly stroke, breaststroke


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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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.


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References in periodicals archive ?
The correlations between the tethered and land-based strength measures (mean of the left and right side values for peak force and rate of force development) with 200 m front crawl performance time were also calculated.
(front crawl) Testing with a start from the water 50m 29,81 (time) Number of stroke cycles / 50m 32 Average speed (V m/s) 1,67 Distance over a stroke cycle (DPC m) 1,56 Propulsion index (Ip = V x DPC) 2,605 Subject 5.
"About 80 per cent of the work comes from the back, shoulders and arms in front crawl," says Bullock.
By advancing forward in this fashion, the beginners discover that a powerful arm pull will cause them to leave their feet--which is the prelude to the front crawl.
Children with spina bifida can become excellent swimmers of the front crawl, which gets little propulsion from the legs.
Briefly, the data were from a front crawl specialist (S1: age: 18yrs; height: 180.5cm; weight: 72.6kg; 50m front crawl long course PB 25.00s) and a front crawl and backstroke swimmer (S2: 18yrs; height: 186.0 cm; weight: 76.0 kg; back crawl: 50m short course PB 25.26s; 100m 59.32s; 200m 2:08.2; front crawl short course PB 50m 23.32s; 100m 51.80s; 200m 1:51.81).
Sophie Roberts, Meri Lynn, Leah Cooper and Keely Empsom all succeeded in the 100m freestyle relay, while Ella Hillier also took points for her performance in the 800m front crawl.
For the girls, Daisy Sanderson came first in backstroke, Emily Hirst first breaststroke and Sophie Kettlewell fifth in front crawl.
'I'd start with breast stroke because that's what I'm better at, but Karen taught me front crawl. Four lengths breast stroke, two front crawl, with lots of 30-second breaks in between.
Six years earlier, Richard - a paraplegic following a 1962 road accident - claimed three golds at the disabled Commonwealth Games in Jamaica in the 25m backstroke, breaststroke and front crawl.
Arms As with the legs, but this time use a pull-buoy float (the one that looks like a number 8) and put it in between your thighs and practise arm movements - front crawl, breast stroke, back crawl.
The robot can currently swim the backstroke and the front crawl, but it will need a new pair of legs before he can master the breast-stroke.

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