Thursday, August 14, 2008

Michael Phelps Freestyle - What exactly is going on?

If you've watched Michael Phelps with any sort of discerning eye this week as he cracks one world record after another, you'll notice that his freestyle is a bit unorthodox from the rest of his fellow competitors. Even the most untrained eye will notice that he comes up higher out of the water than everyone else (link has an embedded picture of what I mean).

What is it about this that gives him an edge over his competitors? Is this giving him an edge?

This has gotten me thinking a little bit outside of the box, so forgive this post if I am way off base, but I tried out the stroke and noticed something peculiar. If you pull yourself out of the water high enough, you can actually throw your hips into the stroke, much like one does in butterfly. If you add the hip action, you get the benefit of more body and leg power in the stroke.

Now I'm not saying Michael is doing what I describe above. I'm not sure it would even be legal, and there are countless judges and people more versed in stroke technique watching all over the earth this week and I haven't heard any complaints or protests.

All I'm suggesting is, that this extra lift up and out of the water before going into the reach may add to one's power in the stroke. Try it for yourself. It takes a little bit of coordination to pull it off, but I think you may be pleasantly surprised. Let me know what you find.


  1. The FINA rules and regulations on freestyle are pretty lax when it comes to style (see Wikipedia). It wouldn't be freestyle otherwise. ;)

    I'll have to take more notice of Phelps next time, I hadn't noticed that before. But I've watched a couple of Popov technique vids and if I'm not mistaken, he does the same thing.

  2. What I have noticed about Phelps' freestyle is that his stroke rhythm is unusual in that his two armstrokes seem close together--in other words, a shorter amount of time between his left arm and his right arm, rather than being evenly going "left...right...left...right," but instead, "left-right, rest...left-right, rest..."

    Then again, if I know so much, how come I'm watching the Olympics in my basement?

  3. My passion is swimming in sea where I found that is ,if you breathing 1-1 you must pull you body high above the wather if you try catch long breath instead of
    s wrong but steel
    practicing because of speed.I was surprised whens see Phelps in last part in 4×50 when he finishedj just like that.From that moment I am confused...what's wright.I think that he concentete his power on thats single "rowing" stroke and keeping his body as much long in position from picture above.Just one thing...if you se he don't make hard kick,without ma king bubles,hew work this his arm is under wather.

  4. Its the galop. Jason Leezak talks about it in his dvd.


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