Is YOUR Cross Connection RIGHT in Freestyle?

Is YOUR Cross Connection RIGHT in Freestyle?

Recently our Stroke Technique Coach, Abbie Fish, traveled to Oregon to run a clinic with the Southwestern Oregon Community College’s Swim Team.

This was Abbie’s second chance to work with SWOCC and Head Coach, Sandra Bullock. Different from last year’s clinic, this year’s clinic included a week-long, technique and fundamentals “stroke school”. Plus, 3 video analysis sessions where Abbie worked with swimmers, 1:1 with their stroke technique.

Here’s a sneak peek into 1 of the Freestyle fundamentals from the “Stroke School”:

The Connection Drill!

When a swimmer is swimming Freestyle, making sure they have the correct connection (or timing) between the arms and legs is super important. Just like when we walk or run, we have a certain gait—well, it’s the same for when we swim.

It’s important to note that when you are walking and running, you have a cross-connection happening within your body that allows your body to take a LONGER step (or a further stride) than without this cross-connection.

To avoid going into further detail what is good about this cross-connection from an anatomical and physiological connection—just know you fire more muscle fibers within a more correct firing pattern than without it.

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So What Does this Cross Connection Have to Do with Swimming?

Basically, the cross connection ensures the same thing in water that you do on land. If a swimmer has correct timing between their arms/legs in the pool—they will have a more efficient stroke.

Recently on the Swim Like A. Fish blog, Abbie has been dissecting the Freestyle Rotation and the benefits of either rotating A LOT or A LITTLE. One of the major benefits of the correct cross-connection in Freestyle is the ability for a swimmer to DECIDE whether they want to rotate A LOT or A LITTLE. If you don’t have a good cross-connection, a swimmer will struggle in general with rotation and keeping it equal side-to-side. Read more on Freestyle Rotation HERE.

Not sure what the Connection Drill is? Watch it below!

Asides from group instruction, Abbie also worked swimmers 1:1 using video feedback and record sessions. Here’s a few snapshots of Abbie working with members of the team:

As always, it super important to look at a swimmer’s technique from all angles–here’s a few more pictures:

When all the angles were properly recorded for each swimmer, Abbie got all the swimmers out on land to educate and show them how to improve their mechanics. Seeing what you can improve on is one thing, but understanding and having a plan for putting it into action is MUCH better.

Traveling out to Oregon was definitely another great opportunity for Abbie to work with a group of talented swimmers and Swim Like A. Fish would like to personally thank Coach Sandra for creating this opportunity again for us.

Coach Sandra definitely said it best,”Having another coach on deck and a fresh set of eyes changes the tone of my workouts. My kids are more in tune–paying attention to detail and learning every session.”

If you’re interested in having a clinic with Coach Abbie, email her at

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  1. Again, thanks Abigail. I know I’m not your target audience, but I apply everything I learn from you in the following workouts. I’m grateful you are out there helping teams improve. Your ability to break everything down to bitesize chunks is a gift to all of us. BTW could you do a series on the fly to back turn. There is somethign that feels awkward in mine. I implemented your back to breast turn and it’s so much more fluid. Thanks. I hope that your business continues to build as evidence of your good work.

    1. I appreciate this comment so much! I will put a note down to do a series on that turn for you specifically! Thanks again for following and using SLAF as a resource!!

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