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What is High elbow catch(HEC)*

A way of initial arm catch movement in Freestyle after the water entry.

Swimmer do the initial catch by “Bend down” the lower arm ONLY, while KEEPING the upper arm to the front and ELBOW HIGHER & CLOSER  to water surface possible. 

What is Deep Catch (DC)**

Another way of initial catch, in oppose to HEC, is called Deep Catch(DC)

DC do no follows HEC, but simply swing the whole arm downward.  The elbow position and the whole arm extend deep into water, and hence called deep catch.

Swimmers and Comparison

Drills for HEC

Underwater Recovery

Alternating Hinge


*An alternative term of HEC called EVF or (Early vertical form) which is the same thing. Olympic commendators refer HEC simply as high elbow. Some articles refer High elbow as High elbow Recovery, which is how the arms move in the air, is totally different from  High elbow Catch (UnderWater)

**Alternative terms of DC is Straight Arm/Straight Arm Catch

*** Velocity Gradient is the measurement of speed variations of water sweeping thru the different part of arms and to quantify the drags across the arm. It is so scientific, involve A.Maths and not intend to discuss here.


Rio 800 Women FS

MIchael Phelps FS

Gary Hall Sr talk about the drag of deep catch @25:00, Utilise big muscles @33:00 with High Elbow

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