What you describe is well known to me. I used early vertical forearm pre-
viously. It was injury prone and made me a lot of troubles.
Here is what I think might help you. Imagine you have left leading arm and
on left side. I keep arm in inner rotation, with hand parallel to the bottom.
After a bit of gliding, I drop a hand and get hold of the water. I feel how
dense it is. Leading arm stays extended. I recover, with the kick, and start
to rotate. As I rotate, I start bending leading arm. Inner rotation keeps an
elbow up. More I bend an elbow, more water I hold. No pull. Nothing, just
get hold of the water, feeling how tick it is. Someone called it "pudding".
When elbow is at 90 degrees, I hold enough water, without a pull. Just hold.
Then, then, then I lean on that water, keeping vertical forearm in place,
opposite arm becoming a leading arm. Then I use whole body to jump over
What I say cannot work if one is not balanced and not streamlined.
To repeat: you have to inner rotate whole arm, or it won't work.