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Hand-over-hand push

From Openwaterpedia

noun - The hand-over-hand push is a move used by competitive open water swimmers and triathletes to gain an edge over an opponent during an open water swimming competition.

In the hand-over-hand push move, the offensive swimmer moves closely to his opponent and times his arm stroke so his hand just slightly after his opponent's hand enters the water. He places his hand directly over the hand of his opponent and takes a normal arm stroke. By pushing his hand down, timed together with his opponent's arm stroke within their collective normal arm stroke cycle, the offensive swimmer gains a slight push and advantage over his opponent. There is little or no impeding of the swimmer as the opponent is not pushed back, but rather there is an additional propulsion gained by the offensive swimmer.


The hand-over-hand push can be considered offensive, inappropriate or illegal by some open water swimmers and officials. However, the subtle move has the advantage that it is extremely difficult to catch by the untrained eye of race officials.

On Offensive

Defense against the hand-over-hand move

Defensive (i.e., preventive) moves against the hand-over-hand push include veering into a competitor or blocking the arm stroke when it is at or near the apex of the arm recovery.

Rule Interpretation

Open water swimming referees can call this move as impeding and may warn or disqualify a swimmer for executing this move in a race.


Usage dating to circa 1978 from Steven Munatones of Huntington Beach, California.

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