Wild SwimmingI should do more of this. There are a few lake swims under my swim workouts, but not enough. You can't beat wild swimming. The exhilaration of cold, clean water is no match for the tepid, chlorinated experience of most pools.
Front CrawlFor me this is the only stroke I can truly work hard on. It may be because it was the stroke I was mainly taught as a child. In any case, it is possible to genuinely sprint with this exercise, and do so in a low-impact way that is not too heavy on any one muscle. Great for active rest between days of heavy resistance work. Here is a video of the technique.
Update 15/10/09: I recently tried keeping my arms much straighter as I bring them overhead and plunge them into the water. It feels like I am reaching forward more as though driving towards my goal, and as though somehow my arms are operating like a windmill. It appears to create a more powerful pull and also stops my triceps aching afterwards.
Underwater LengthsThis was the best video I could find to illustrate what I do - please ignore the slightly creepy voiceover and try not to laugh at the phrase 'this could be fatal to your health.' I suspect that since the word fatal means you die, it would have been reasonable to omit 'to your health' from that statement
I have found that taking several deep breaths before starting one or more underwater lengths can make a big difference to how far you can go. I tend hyperventilate just before I go under, taking progressively shorter and quicker breaths. Why? I guess because that's what I have seen them do on films.
Question is, does it get you any fitter doing this, or would it be equally beneficial to make non-hyperventilated lengths your baseline and save yourself the trouble...?