Swim Techniques​: Front Crawl (Face In)

The infamous front crawl.

When I tell new clients, “Show me what you can do.” this is what they attempt to show me…child and/or adult.

So let’s talk about the front crawl or better know as freestyle.

First things first…you MUST put your face in the water. So many times I see people “swimming” and their face is not in the water, their back is so arched, and feet are kicking way too hard.


Image result for front crawl diagram
via Physics of Swimming


Face In

You notice how the swimmer has his/her face in the water. Not only is it in the water, but it’s looking at the bottom of the pool.

If you don’t get your face in the water, your legs will struggle to rise to the surface, making it harder to move.

So I always use this example with my clients no matter the age.Related image

You remember a seesaw? Seesaws are GREAT! A person sits on each end, and they take turns pushing their feet against the ground to lift their side into the air.

Well, it’s the same thing with swimming and why putting your face in the water is important. Lifting your head up makes your legs go down and vice versa.

Ok, so that’s Step One with the front crawl aka freestyle.

Next time you’re in the pool try it and let me know how it works out for you!  I’d be really glad to know.

Next: Just Keep Kicking

I Live. I Love. I Swim.png


Summer is Over, Now What?

This sums it all up!

Summer is over.

I’m sorry that I have just ruined it for you, but it’s time to face the cold hard facts.

  1. The kids are going back to school.
  2. It’s time to purchase school supplies.
  3. Time to go back to the regular routine.

All of these things are true, however, there is one thing that is very important…

Just because summer is over and school is now in session does NOT mean that swim lessons end.

Say it with me: YEAR. ROUND. SWIM. LESSONS!

That’s right…I’m listening.

As a WoC swim instuctor, I’m ALWAYS encouraging parents to put their children into swim lessons.  Not just the children, but the parents too! Yes, you too adults!!!

Swim Lessons is just like grade school…trust me I know, I’m a K-8 educator as well.giphy-2

One swim lesson does NOT mean that you or your child can swim.  It’s like saying “oh ok I did Kindergarten, I’m done!” Now, doesn’t that sounds crazy?!

Becuase it is crazy, but people say it all the time in reference to swimming and swim lessons.

sourceLearning how to swim is similar to learning how to play the piano (something that I know how to do as well)! The more frequently you practice, the easier it is to retain skills and progress into more advanced skills.  So just think of it as this, if you take a break from lessons, the longer the break, the longer it usually takes to get back on track where you left off.  Therefore, I STRONGLY recommend staying in year-round lessons to retain and build on life-saving swimming skills.

Swimming is one of the best exercises available to humankind! Yes, you read that correctly. It can decrease anxiety and depression, and it’s meditative. Swimming also stimulates the brain, which fosters the growth of new brain cells and promotes child development.

Here are jus a few reasons why parents some parents and adults tell me they choose to only do swim lessons during part of the year are:

  • swimming in the winter may make me and/or my child sick
  • my child already spends a lot of time in other pools during the summer
  • my child is too busy with other extracurricular activities
  • can’t justify the cost of lessons year round
Even Curry is shaking his head on this one.

Large gaps of time between swim lessons can let a fear of water develop. Yes, of course, during the summer most children spend a lot of time in pools. However, this time in pools gives them a chance to develop bad habits. Just because a child plays in pools in the summer doesn’t guarantee that they are developing healthy swimming skills.

So what is your plan now? Yes, basketball, football, futbol (soccer), and any other sport is important but please keep in mind that

  • Drowning is one of the top 5 causes of death for people aged 1-14 years for 48 of 85 countries
  • Nearly 80 percent of people who die from drowning in the United States are male.
  • From 1999-2010, the fatal unintentional drowning rate for African Americans was significantly higher than that of Caucasians across all ages.

 – via The World Largest Swimming Lesson

I know that’s a LOT to think about, but it’s time to do something about it. So what are you going to do?


Remember: “Just keep swimming!” – Dory

Swimming While Black

Good Morning. Good Afternoon. Good Evening. <— all depends on where you are reading this right?

Well, today I decided to blog about a subject that is near and dear to my heart…

Black Swimmers!

I’m sure that some of you are wondering why.  Well if you don’t know already, I am a black swimmer.  My mum enrolled me into swimming at the local YMCA in my city at the age of 3.  I was enrolled in swimming lessons until the age of 14.  It is at this age that my mum and I had a conversation.

Mum: Marla, I never learned to swim as a child or adult and I really believe swimming is important.  I also believe that it’s important that you have a hobby or skill that you can use anywhere. I have signed you up for lifeguard training.

This was the BEST news ever! I would be able to train under one of my previous swim instructors who I admired so much.

Here’s the big thing. I get to training.  The YOUNGEST person there and the ONLY black child/youth.  It really didn’t even matter to me at the time.  I was just there to pass the lifeguard test and to get my CPR/AED training.

and I DID!!!!

That Summer of 1995 I had my FIRST official job.  Like I was paying taxes and such.

I was working at my old stomping grounds, the YMCA that I took lesson at as a child.  I also had the privilege to work with two of my swim instructors I had growing up.

Again, I was the ONLY black lifeguard on staff.  At least I was the only black until July.  By mid July there were three of us.

By the next summer I got certified as a swim instructor.  Again…the only black.

I started to notice the trend.

  • synchronized swimming – ONLY
  • lifeguarding – ONLY
  • swim intructor – ONLY
  • swim team – ONLY
  • swim team coach – ONLY
  • water aerobics instructor – ONLY
Me with a water baby in Nigeria.

So it’s 2017 and I have worked at 3 YMCAs, 1 Jewish Community Center, 2 two international schools and MOST times I am the only PoC (Person of Colour) that is there or the only PoC that remains.   I also, am the instructor that everyone wants.  I am perfectly ok with that, but it saddens me that PoC are so few in number in sports or activities that involve water.

This is why as a Black swim instructor, I am determined to reach out to my fellow PoC to ensure that they see my face.  That PoC EVERYWHERE know that we exist.

Below you will find a list of some that I follow on Twitter and Instagram.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the fatal drowning rate of African-American children aged five-14 is three times that of white children.  A recent study sponsored by USA Swimming uncovered equally stark statistics. Just under 70% of African-American children surveyed said they had no or low ability to swim. Low ability merely meant they were able to splash around in the shallow end. A further 12% said they could swim but had “taught themselves”.

It is my goal that PoC, especially Black people, discover a new rite of passage.  It is my goal that WE as a people to learn how to swim!

Remember: “Just keep swimming!” – Dory

*side note*

So, I was looking through my iStock photos – yes I have a membership, not a SINGLE image when I type in “African American Swim Instructor” or “Black Swim Instructor”.  Hey iStock if you need some images please hit me up!