The Three Styles of Freestyle
With hybrid freestyle technique, the stroke rates range from around 70 to nearly 100 strokes per minute, overlapping some with the other two techniques. With the stroke rates in between the other two techniques, hybrid freestyle is a technique that also seems to work best for the middle-distance races, 100 and 200 meters. We often see hybrid freestyle technique also being used in longer events, 400 meters and up, particularly among men.
The key feature of hybrid freestyle technique is the different speeds of the recovering arms. Coming off the breath side, the recovering arm comes down harder and faster than on the non-breath side. After the breath, the head should submerge when the recovering arm strikes the water. Once in the water, the recovering arm on the breath side pushes out the front, similar to a hip-driven technique. The hand on the non-breath side will begin to press downward immediately after entry, similar to a shoulder-driven technique, to help facilitate the breath to the other side. Since each arm borrows a technique from both hip-driven and shoulder-driven freestyle, we call it a hybrid freestyle technique. It is also known as a loping or galloping freestyle technique.
Under water, since the recovering arm strikes the water earlier on the breath side, the opposite pulling arm is usually in the front quadrant. By the time the non-breathing side hand strikes the water, the opposite pulling hand is in the back quadrant.
American record holder, Zane Grothe, uses hybrid freestyle technique. Coming off the breath to the right side, his left pulling hand is in the front quadrant. Notice the peak acceleration point (center in graph below) as his right hand strikes the water, coming off quick body rotation, arm recovery and a strong surge kick