53 - Mr. Dustin’s Approach to Front Crawl

TL:DR | The most common form of swimming, and the first thing you'll be learning. Do not do doggy paddle, as even the most basic version of frontcrawl will get you so much farther.

2 min read
53 - Mr. Dustin’s Approach to Front Crawl

Have you come to learn to swim?
This is the most basic form of swimming, the frontcrawl stroke, and here is how I teach it.

As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, I do not refer to this style of swimming as freestyle. That term is deliberately misleading, and front crawl or front stroke makes it much easier to understand.

Why + Philosophy:

This is the most common stroke that people will learn when trying to start swimming. How you do this will translate into all of the other strokes, and I find that I spend a lot more time teaching this one.

Perhaps due to the habit forming time, the need for learning how to glide in conjunction with frontcrawl, or perhaps because it is complex to move multiple parts of your body at once.

Regardless of the reason the leveling is measurable, and you can even see it (as a coach at least) when something clicks and progress is made.

How + Physics:

This stroke is when you are laying flat on top of the water, scissor kicking, and moving your arms in a windmill-like pattern.

I break it down to 3 simple steps to swimming. Now while these can be applied to any stroke actually, they were made for this stroke in mind:

  1. Kicking legs straight.
  2. Face down.
  3. Arms out of water, diving back in.

Each word is carefully picked to simplify these steps as much as possible, without losing meaning. The reason being is so that you can think about these steps WHILE actually swimming.

What + Psychology:

Now you'll notice there that I don't mention anything about breathing, and that is because swimming isn't about breathing. It is about MOVING.

If you do not move properly, then you won't be able to breath properly.

The steps act as a 1, 2, 3, chunking system or mnemonic to help you recall swiftly in the moment.


The way I see it is that you should be spending most of your time for the first few levels just doing this stroke. You may be introduced to breaststroke or back stroke, but for the most part you'll be practicing this main one.

Once you get the 3 steps down, and understand the dynamics of Sinking; It is this that you can move onto breathing, and other strokes.

This is advice for people to level up their swimming, or perhaps get started in the first place. While you swim you should make sure you are doing so in a public facility with a lifeguard on duty for safety.

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