Triathlon Swim Tips: Arm Extension & Pull

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Coaches Kevin & Chris discuss the proper freestyle pull for triathlon swimming.


Kevin: Hi! It’s Coach Kevin at and I’m here with Assistant Coach, Chris Hay, and we’re going to talk today about arm extension and pull in the water when it comes to freestyle for triathlon. And so, this is a challenge that a lot of triathletes face in swimming is that they’re not doing the proper pull. So, let’s start from the beginning and you want to extend your arm. When you enter your arm in the water, you want to extend it out. And what I see a lot of people doing is dropping down or extending out and then dropping down. So, ideally, you want to extend that arm out as you’re rotating and then that’s when you want that high elbow catch. So, you want to drop… you hand should go face the bottom of the pool and then you’re pulling back and then your elbow is lifting out the water. So, how is your experience with the pull, Chris?

Chris: I find also that a lot of triathletes and a lot of swimmers, in general, cross over their center line. So, they enter the water and then they cross over and pretty much you lose all the power by crossing over. What you want to focus on is trying to imagine your arm pointing at the corner of the pool and then dropping back. Also, I’ve noticed that some people, they drop in and then their arm kind of swerves up, as like are putting up a stop sign. That really slows you down. You watch your arm flat out and then your fingers pointed to the bottom of the pool all the way through.

Kevin: Good stuff! That’s it for the pull. So, go ahead and practice that and we’ll have some underwater videos for you as well. So, thanks for watching and again, it’s