The technique Nathan Adrian, Michael Phelps and Katie ledecky is using to their freestyle to destroy the competition.


The “hop and drop”, the “gallop”, the “hitch”…. what ever you want to call it is the primary technique used by a lot of the world fastest(Nathan Adrian, Micheal Phelps and Katie ledecky) swimming to give them the edge… or more like the body lengths on their competition.  This technique allow you to pull your body out of the water, temporarily allowing you to reduce drag on each stroke and propelling you forward  in the process. However this is not new information. The “hop and drop” has been around for a long time and has been taught to be the “wrong way” to swim freestyle. I won’t be surprised that if you as a swimmer tried thing is practice your coach will probably ask you what the heck you’re doing, and “correct” you immediately.   Yes, the techniques that help you to swim faster and excel in swim are like taboo topic which everyone has swan not to speak about. Leaving the first place spot on the podium reserved for those  who are will to go against the grain of swimming and try something  “new” and unpopular.

 

In the video below, pay close attention to motion of  Nathan Adrian. (If the video does not working click the “watch this video on YouTube” link)

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One hand swings high and the other hand goes a high elbow recovery. If you are wondering what that has to do with anything, well… everything. This is the “hop and drop” in action and he executes it perfectly. He breathes every stroke because you can only do the “hop and drop” when you are taking a breathe and his fast head movement prevents him from getting stock on each stroke while providing a rhythmic motion which can be easily sustain to win the 100 freestyle in the 2012 Olympics. I can not wait to see what he does this year using this technique.

 

The video below is Katie Ledecky in action using the “hop and drop” technique and putting body lengths of distance between herself and her competitors.(If the video does not working click the “watch this video on YouTube” link)

 

Olympic Swimming Trials | Katie Ledecky Qualifies For Rio In 400m Free


In short, it is not that swimmers like  Nathan Adrian, Micheal Phelps and Katie ledecky are born with / been given some genetic gift from the gods. That’s preposterous.  It’s the fact that they are will to try taboo ways of swimming and training that other swimmers and coaches will dismiss and ignore.  If you like this, please subscribe and leave a comment below!

 

References:

Washington Post’s Dave Sheinin

ESPN’s Philip Hersh notes