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Adapted, with permission, from an article by Wayne Goldsmith
First published in 'Swimming' July 2003

While training won't make your arms longer, you can develop longer strokes by working on your flexibility and 'feel' of the water. Think 'reach long, pull strong'. Having longer arms doesn't always mean longer strokes - it is what you do with your arms that matters. For example:
A swimmer with an arm one metre long can apply pressure to the water for one metre if the swimmer has the ability to feel the water and pull on the water for the full metre. If the swimmer doesn't feel the water and hasn't learnt to pull the water throughout the stroke his long arms are no advantage. A swimmer with shorter arms but with superior feel and stroke technique can actually have longer strokes than the person with long arms! Think of this next time you are on the blocks next to some giant swimmer. Technique beats all!