Last time we spoke about the theory of why you should pull freestyle with a high underwater elbow. This week we’re going to show you exactly how to do that. Nathan Adrian who was one of the fastest swimmers in the world demonstrates the underwater pull using the correct High Elbow or what is called the Early Vertical Forearm. This type of the pull will enable you to swim through the water creating less frontal drag. From above the water you can see how close Nathan’s elbows stay to the surface, throughout the entire underwater pull. Quick Catch. High Elbow. Quick Release. How we teach this? We begin by using a lane rope and using the cable to get the feeling of what it’s like to initiate the catch with High Elbow. In this case, Nico Messer demonstrates using a hand paddle starting the pull with that elbow that’s very high. The cable prevents the elbow from dropping to give you the sensation of how you should pull correctly. The hand paddle increases the force which exists, amplifies the feeling. This is a straight arm scull that many of us learn when we began swimming. It is one of the most basic and fundamental sculling drills that teaches us a spatial awareness of our hand and our forearm underwater. It also enables us to feel the sensation of pressure on the hand as it moves in and out and the proper head position. But what it doesn’t do is it doesn’t teach us how to initiate the pull with a high elbow. Contrast this to a more advanced drill whereby we use: The fingertips are pointing down. And the elbow is stationary pointing as far forward as possible, lifting the shoulders toward the cheeks. The elbows remain in this stationary position as the hand and forearm move back and forth like a windshield wiper, feeling the water and pressure of a high elbow position. When this is done faster you may actually get a burning sensation occurs in the forearms and into the deltoid muscle. Nico also demonstrates how not to do with a high elbow scull, where he does allows his hands to slip through the water and doesn’t get the sensation as you would when you initiate the high will catch. The next drill is a high elbow snap scull which is best performed with a mono snorkel. By using the mono snorkel and not needing to breathe you’ll be more aware of what you’re doing in initial portion of your catch. You can see how you can feel the connection between the counter rotation of your hip and the initiation of the pull, as you do when you’re swimming correctly. Underwater he’s getting initial high catch, high elbow. At the same time he counter-rotates the body. In real time, you can see how snappy and quick this drill is performed. The last drill we like to use is an one arm drill. Nico demonstrates, first, how not to pull using a deep elbow drop almost a straight arm underwater. Notice how far underneath him his hand comes and how much drug is created by the upper arm. This is a pull of power, but it’s also pull of extensive drag which reduces speed. Contrast to that, now to the high elbow pull whereby the hands stays shallower, the elbow much higher, and the hand stays almost completely outside the body line throughout the entire pull. From above water you can see how high the elbow remains while he makes his individual pull with each arm. By doing a one arm drill you only have to rotate to one side which makes it easier for you to learn how to keep your elbow at the surface. By practicing with first the right arm then the left arm, you can gradually develop into a technique where both arms can keep this high elbow position, while you maintain your underwater pull with a greatest amount of efficiency. High elbow, early catch, head down position reduce drag, fast swimming.