Freestyle – Knife Hand Entry

The swimming technique of how to hold the hand at entry in freestyle is not often discussed. Yet it is extremely important. An improper positioning of the hand and wrist at entry can lead to big increases in frontal drag during this early part of the pulling cycle. Many swimmers are taught to relax their hands at entry which is a huge mistake. Doing so leads to the water flowing and opening the fingers and thumb or turning the wrist either to the outside (flaring) or upwards. The increase in drag from the poor hand technique at race speed can range from a 3% to 12% increase, depending on the position of the hand.We have found that by turning the pinky down and holding the hand vertically after the breath stroke in hip-driven and hybrid-freestyle can further reduce the drag from the hand in front. Rising swimming superstar Josh Zuchowski demonstrates in this video how he rotates his hand with the little pinky down after the breath stroke in freestyle to glide through the water with less resistance. This technique has been used by some of the world's greatest hip and hybrid freestylers, including Michael Phelps, Sun Yang and Mykail Romanchuk of Ukraine.