“At Swim Smooth we call an Overglider someone who has focused on trying to reduce the number of strokes they take per length to an absolute minimum, believing that a reduced number of strokes is the key measure of efficiency in freestyle swimming. Many have also been taught that by pausing and gliding as long as possible on their side they will be conserving energy.
The truth is though that swimming like this is very energy sapping. Water is 800 times more dense than air meaning that any significant pause at the front of the stroke will cause the swimmer to stall before having to re-accelerate on the next stroke. This accelerate-decelerate-accelerate-decelerate action is very inefficient.
Under the water at the front of their stroke, nearly all Overgliders drop their elbow and show the palm forwards. We call this ‘putting on the brakes’.”