Here's something to try the next time you swim. Think about kicking with your feet angled slightly inwards, brushing your big toes lightly together as they pass on every kick.
Angling your feet in slightly is good technique and gently tapping your big toes lets you check your kick rhythm. If you have an occasional pause between toe taps then it’s likely you have a scissor kick in your stroke.
A scissor kick is a wide parting of the legs that most swimmers are unaware of, slowing you down by creating lots of drag. At our recent Swim Smooth clinics, 23 of the 48 attendees had a scissor kick in their stroke and only one of them suspected it was there.
Brushing your big toes lightly together can help remove a scissor kick. Try and do so with a regular rhythm: tap tap tap tap tap. Important: Maintain this focus on breathing strokes too.
You can use the toe-brush check any time during training or racing. If your stroke is feeling untidy or scrappy it could be just the thing to pull your stroke back together again.
Relevant link: More about kicking in freestyle.