How to Swim Freestyle: Guide For Beginners (Easy)

how long does it take to learn to swim
Danila Novikov
All-American swimmer and founder of NYC based swim school.
Hey, my name is Dan; I'm the All- American swimmer and the owner of NYC based swim school. I have been sharing swimming tips for beginners since 2019, and today we will talk about freestyle stroke.

You'll learn:

  1. Freestyle swimming technique for beginners
  2. How to generate more power when swimming front crawl
  3. What is a freestyle catch, arm stroke, and kick
  4. And more

If you are looking to master one of the most popular competitive swimming strokes, freestyle, this article is for you.

Let's dive in.

Freestyle Swimming Technique Fundamentals: Everything You Need To Know

Before we start, I want to say that there are various freestyle techniques and teaching styles. I want to share the method that I have been using with my students, which has proven effective in helping them to learn. Two.

Disclaimer: Please be safe and learn to swim where you can reach the bottom of the pool.

Freestyle swimming stroke consists of 4 essential components:

Head & body position in the water.

Your body and head position in the water ultimately determines how fast and efficiently you'll swim freestyle. Failure to maintain a streamlined body position will result in more drag.


Swimming freestyle requires symmetrical up-and-down leg movements to move your body forward.


Pulling underwater is one of the most critical propulsive phases in freestyle technique.

Breath technique.

The right freestyle technique looks like one well-connected fluid motion. In order to achieve that, beginner swimmers must work on an efficient breathing technique.

Body and head position

Positioning yourself in the water correctly is crucial. The proper floating position allows you to stay close to the surface of the water, which is your starting point in freestyle swimming.

A streamlined body position means your upper body, hips, and legs are in a straight, horizontal way in the water. Keep your arms relaxed and extended in front of you. Legs should be extended behind with toes pointed towards the wall behind you. A neutral head position is achieved by tucking your chin and looking down at the bottom of the pool.

Watch the video on my channel to learn more about floating.

Freestyle kick

The kick performed in freestyle is called the flutter kick, also known as the front crawl kick. The kick helps you to maintain the proper body position, balance, and stability inside the water.

The freestyle kicks are produced with both legs moving up and down one at a time. As you kick your right leg up, the left kicks down, and vice versa.

Watch the video about freestyle kicking to learn the proper kicking technique.


In freestyle, arm strokes help you to propel forward. Mastering the correct mechanics of the arm stroke cycle is essential as it directly influences your swimming ability.

Pull one arm at a time. Wait to start the next stroke with the opposite arm until you finish the previous one. Pull the water with your hand and forearm all the way until they reach your thigh. Recover your arm forward in a relaxed manner over the surface of the water. Wait until you get both arms in front before starting the next stroke.


Breathing is our most natural skill, but transferring it to the water might be a little tricky.

Unfortunately, our lungs have a limited capacity; therefore, we have to release the air out of our lungs before inhaling. Exhale by blowing the bubbles in the water before coming out for a breath.

There is one more fundamental detail about freestyle breathing. You have to perform a body rotation to take a breath in. I'll explain how to rotate your hips and legs at the end of the article, so keep on reading.

Freestyle Stroke: Swimming Technique Tips & Drills

Now the most challenging part is assembling these details to get an end product.

Don't worry; I got you covered. You will get there. I will equip you with a set of specific drills, starting with the easier ones and more advanced up for you to practice and perfect your freestyle swimming technique.

We need a piece of equipment before returning to the pool. We need a floatable device such as a kickboard, noodle, floating dumbbell, or barbell. You got one? Ok, cool, let's go back to the pool.

Freestyle face in the water drill

First, let's try to pull and kick while keeping your face in the water. Align your body and look down while swimming freestyle. Maintain continuous, effortless kicks while moving your arms. Move one arm at a time, do not start the next stroke before finishing the previous one.

Head position drills

First, let's try to pull and kick while keeping your face in the water. Align your body and look down while swimming freestyle. Maintain continuous, effortless kicks while moving your arms. Move one arm at a time, do not start the next stroke before finishing the previous one.

Kicking on the side with a kickboard

Grab a kickboard and put one arm on top of it. Rotate your entire body to a 90-degree angle so that you can kick on your side. Head stays in the water, including your ear and cheek, allowing your nose and mouth to stay out. Kick back and forth with your entire leg while keeping your knees and ankles relaxed.

Why head position matters?

You might ask me, but Dan, what does this exercise have to do with freestyle? Allow me to show you something. Watch me slowing down my freestyle breathing. Looks familiar?

You should learn to position yourself this way to learn freestyle breathing. The key is getting your mouth out of the water while keeping your entire body inside and taking advantage of buoyancy.

Learn more about buoyancy by watching the video that pops up in your right corner.