- your hands enter right in front of your shoulders.
- you seem to have nice plantar flexion (when you point your toes). that bodes well for being able to kick well. someday.
here are the challenges:
- the fact that you swim faster with a buoy i attribute to 2 things, 1 good, 1 bad. the good thing: if you don't fishtail, that means you're good in the side-to-side plane. you don't fishtail. great. there's something we don't need to fix.
- your legs sink. you can see that in the video. swimming with a buoy floats your legs. you're out of balance in that plane. front to back. you need for your feet to break the water when you kick. lots of drag. which means, lots of speed when you fix that.
- what your hands do after the catch.
here's grant hackett:
notice how grant hackett's entire arm is parallel to the water, hand up there, just under the surface of the water, until he starts the pull.
you, on the other hand - and you are typical of most swimmers - let your arm drift down, and nothing much starts to happen until you arm is underneath your body. the amount of actual pull you get, when you're pulling water back, is pretty minimal.
what you want is to set the pulling surface while it's in front of your body. catch, glide, hand on the surface, then set the pulling surface and pull straight back with that entire pulling surface (elbow to fingertip). pull straight back with that big paddle. don't think about S-patterns or any of that. just yank that paddle straight back.
i think you are on the cusp of a breakthrough. you really have fixed most of the bigger problems. you need to:
1. kick faster
2. get your feet up on the surface
3. pull with a much more efficient technique: your forearm needs to look more like a canoe paddle and less like a ferris wheel.
i have heard some people talk about swimming downhill. you can google that if you want to, you'll see some videos. it's a rhetorical device, but i like that for you. you are swimming uphill. your head and chest is up, your legs are down. if you think about swimming downhill, maybe that'll get your head down and your legs up. in the end, of course, you'll just be level, which is what we want, but i think the downhill motif might help you make some headway.