Front crawl

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The front crawl, or forward crawl, is a swimming style usually regarded as the fastest of all the styles developed. It is one of two long axis strokes, the other one being the backstroke. Unlike the backstroke, the butterfly stroke, and the breaststroke, the front crawl is not regulated by the FINA, but it is nearly universally swum in freestyle swimming competitions. This style is sometimes referred to as the Australian crawl or the American crawl, although these can refer to more specific slight variations, classified as front crawl strokes.[1] This style is also sometimes called freestyle swimming although freestyle swimming can be any method that the swimmer chooses, including the backstroke or dog paddle.

Contents

Ergonomics

The swimming position on the chest allows good flexibility of the arm in the water, as compared to the backstroke, where the hands cannot be moved easily along the back of the spine. The above-water recovery reduces drag, compared to the underwater recovery of breaststroke. The alternating arm stroke also allows some rolling movement of the body for an easier recovery compared to, for example, butterfly. Finally, the alternating arm stroke makes for a relatively constant speed throughout the cycle.[2]

History

The front crawl has been in use since ancient times. In the Western world, the front crawl was first seen in a swimming race held in 1844 in London, where it was swum by Native North Americans, who easily defeated all the British breaststroke swimmers.[3][4] However, the English gentlemen considered this style, with its considerable splashing, to be barbarically "un-European". The British continued to swim only the breaststroke in competition.[4]

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