The over-the-water recovery can’t really help the swimmer gain extra momentum. However, it can cause problems with the stroke if the swimmer’s hand swings very high or out wide.

A high recovery arch, where the hand creates a high arch, extends the downward pressure on the swimmer. This can cause the swimmer to “bounce” while swimming. By the same token, a recovery path that sees the hand take a wide berth away from the body can cause the swimmer to “snake” through the water.

This drill is designed to encourage a compact arm recovery by keeping the arm close to the body and elbow high.

After you have finished your pull, begin your arm recovery by bending your elbow, not by lifting your hand out of the water. Continue to lift your elbow until your fingertips almost break the water. Finish your recovery dragging your fingertips across the top of the water.

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Coach’s Tips

  • It’s important that your elbow leads the recovery. Let your hand naturally follow. In other words, keep your forearm and hand loose, so that it follows directly underneath your elbow. This is the most efficient path.
  • Don’t swing your hand out to the side or up in the sky.
  • Think about swimming through a tube. If your hand takes a high or wide arch, you will hit the side.
  • Consider coupling this drill with the thumb-to-thigh drill. Let your thumb brush up your hip at the beginning of your recovery.