Can you feel how your body is moving while you swim front crawl? Do you have any feel for the water? And what does this even mean? When I first started triathlon I was totally confused about what this meant and it made it really hard for me to improve my front crawl swimming.

I was also completely unable to feel where my body was in the water and how I was swimming.  After a lesson I would go away and practice my front crawl skills. But I’d have absolutely no clue what I was doing in the water. When I went back for a lesson and need to repeat everything we did the last time.

On land I also had a general lack of awareness of how my body was moving and how it felt physically. This is partly why I’d get injured, and is something I’ve been working on for many years.

Anyhow back to improving your front crawl swimming. If you have no awareness of how your body is moving when you swim front crawl and have no sensations of different things in the water then it will be hard to make changes

However, the good news is that it is totally possible to become more aware in the water and learn how to improve your front crawl.

It just takes a bit of practice and focus. And here are some simple tips to help improve your awareness of how you’re swimming front crawl.

Reflect and Review

Take some time in between repeats to reflect and review and see what you can feel. Don’t just focus on how much rest time your work out says but actually rest and think about where you feel things in your body.

Waterproof Notebook

Get a waterproof notebook and write down what you can feel. This raises it in your consciousness, increases your awareness and helps you remember and review it next time.

Be Detailed

Be specific about body part you can feel something happening too. And if you’re not sure do another repeat and really focus on different parts of your body. Eg hands, feet, thighs, bottom, elbows, forearms, head etc.


What sensations can you feel? Is it pressure and if so is it light or heavy pressure and force. Does it feel turbulent, rough and splashy or quiet and smooth. Do you feel stable and have controlled or do you feel wobbly and all over the place.

Which body parts feel tense or relaxed? Strong or floppy, stretched or soft. Powerful or weak. You can choose your own words and sensations that make sense to you and your experience.

What can you hear?

Take your attention to what you can hear. Do you hear a loud or quite splash. A dull or sharp noise, continuous or stop start. Is it the same on each leg or arm?

What can you see?

Take your attention to what you can see. If you see the ceiling when you’re breathing you might be over rotating. You head probably isn’t in a neutral position if you can see the other end of the pool. Do you see your hands or your elbows and is it the same on both arms.

Are you fast or slow

Start noticing how fast or slow your arms and legs are moving and turning around. This isn’t about the your time on the clock but how busy or smooth your stroke feels.

How much effort?

Think about how much effort you’re putting in. This could be in relation to how hard you’re breathing, or how much force you’re applying with your arms. You can use your own personal scale or Rate of Perceived Exertion. I tend to use a scale of 1-10 where 10 is an all out sprint and 1 is a slow walk. Start noticing and recording your effort levels.

Same or different

Start noticing what is the same and what is different. Are your arms and legs the same on every stroke or does one side do something different. Does it feel different when you take a breath. Is the same as the last repeat, yesterdays swim or the lesson you had with me last week.

Next time you go to the pool have a go and see let me know how you get on.

I can help

If you’re wondering if I could help you to learn front crawl then why not book a taster session here or if you have lots of questions then get in touch and book a FREE 15min Lets chat here.

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I’m Penny and I’m a triathlete and wild swimmer with a passion for outdoor adventures. I’m a triathlon coach and Total Immersion Swimming Teacher and I help people feel more comfortable in the water so they can swim further, discover the joy of swimming or finish a triathlon without feeling exhausted.