Overreaching in the freestyle recovery takes place when a swimmer extends their arm fully before it has entered the water. Normally I see the elbow land first which causes a significant amount of drag/turbulence as it hits the water. The recovery tends to be led by the hand and not the elbow. This can also cause significant stress to the rotator cuff and is a certain killer to obtaining an early vertical forearm catch. Poor body rotation is also a culprit….(will talk about another time).
Swimmers can help correct this problem using the FINGERTIP DRAG DRILL which promotes a “high elbow” recovery and makes you acutely aware of your hand position throughout the recovery. During the recovery keep your “fingertips” in contact with the water’s surface. Try to maintain that high elbow throughout the first half of the recovery and then enter your hand before you have complete extension of your arm.