September 14, 2023

Unveiling the Secrets of the Catch, High Elbow, and Pull in Triathlons

Swimming is the first challenge you’ll face in a triathlon, and understanding the intricacies of the sport’s terminology is vital for a successful race. In this article, we’ll unravel the secrets behind three crucial aspects of swimming in triathlons: the Catch, the High Elbow, and the Pull. These elements can significantly impact your performance and efficiency in the water.

The Catch: Grabbing Water to Propel Forward

The Catch is a fundamental concept in swimming that involves using your hand and forearm to grab the water effectively. Here’s how it works:

-Catch Phase: This is the initial part of your arm movement, where you extend your arm forward and create a high-pressure area in front of your hand.

-Fingers Pointed Down: During the Catch, your fingers should point downward, helping you maximize your grip on the water.

-Engage Your Core: A strong core is essential to maintain stability and power during the Catch phase.

High Elbow Position: The Key to Efficiency

The High Elbow position is a swimming technique that minimizes water resistance and optimizes your stroke:

-Elbow Above Wrist: In this position, your elbow is higher than your wrist when your arm is extended forward, resembling an “L” shape.

-Reduces Drag: A High Elbow reduces drag in the water, allowing for a smoother and more efficient stroke.

– Engage Your Latissimus Dorsi: The muscles in your back play a crucial role in maintaining the High Elbow position.

The Pull: Generating Propulsion

The Pull is the phase of your swim stroke where you generate the most propulsion:

-Power Comes from the Lats: During the Pull, you engage your latissimus dorsi muscles to sweep your arm backward.

-Fingers Point Backward: Your fingers should point backward, allowing you to push the water efficiently.

-Complete the Stroke: Finish the Pull by bringing your arm back to its extended position, ready for the next stroke.

Combining Catch, High Elbow, and Pull for Efficiency

Efficient swimming in a triathlon requires the seamless integration of these three elements:

-Timing is Key: The Catch sets up the High Elbow position, which then leads into the powerful Pull. Proper timing ensures a continuous and powerful stroke.

-Consistency Matters: Maintain the Catch and High Elbow position throughout the swim to maximize efficiency and reduce fatigue.


Mastering the Catch, High Elbow, and Pull is essential for triathletes looking to excel in the swim leg. These techniques not only improve your efficiency but also reduce the risk of injury and make swimming a more enjoyable experience. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned triathlete, understanding and practicing these elements will propel you towards success in the water and set the stage for a strong performance in your triathlon journey. Dive in, embrace these techniques, and watch your swimming prowess soar to new heights!

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