Stroke Technique

On Friday, March 12, I was lucky enough to participate in a freestyle swim clinic hosted by the Okanagan Masters Swim Club with special guest Karlyn Pipes-Neilson. In 2004 and 2007 Karlyn was voted the World Masters Swimmer of the Year and since 1993 she has set over 200 Masters World Records. For her complete BIO visit

It was great to meet her in person and I came away with more than I had bargained for. The days of the old “S” stroke are surely a thing of the past and ever since the Australians started the high elbow catch there is no looking back. I thought I had that nailed, but Karlyn pointed out a few things…the majority of the stroke takes place in the front quadrant, you want to extend your arm out and away from centerline and “catch” the water with a slight pause and then pull your arm back with a high elbow break. The pull phase ends just before your hand reaches your hip minus the follow-thru. That was the simple version, and like a golf swing your stroke can be broken down even more incrementally.

This was a fair amount of information to digest in four hours, but Karlyn was right there if you needed help and did a great job with us. She has a video that I highly recommend as the clinic was organized around this. I am confident this stoke will make me a faster swimmer in the future.

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