Swim Technique Drills
By Coach Tom Manzi
You’re committed to your training plan, but are you committed to working on the skills necessary to improve your form and technique? Doing drills may seem mundane and time consuming, but if you spend a little time working drills into your workouts, you will only benefit long term. Swimming is definitely a sport that requires practice. Below are a few simple drills that you can incorporate into your weekly swim routines.
Four Easy Drills to Improve Swim Technique:
The following drills should be completed 4 to 8 times for 25 yards/meters, or if in 50 meter pool, one length, with at least 20 seconds rest between each rep.
- Posture- focus on head position, looking down at bottom of pool, this will raise your hips and legs and you will be able to swim across the top of the water, rather than having a drag effect form lower body.
- Direction – Focus on hand entry equal with shoulder, don’t crossover—think “swim like a penguin walks”. Exaggerate reaching out towards lane lines. You will feel still water outside your body, if you crossover, you will be pulling on moving water.
- Length– Focus on extending your hand and arm as far as you can above the water, trying to enter with fingertips first. The longer you extend, the better you will rotate.
- CATCH– Focus on fingertips entering water first, with a locked wrist. Keep wrist locked with fingertips pointing to bottom of pool for entire catch phase. This will give a high elbow under the water which will enable you to catch water from finger tips, hand, and all the way up the forearm.
Below is a workout you can schedule weekly in early season training to work on these drills. You can also incorporate these into warm up sets in your swim workouts.
One-Hour Swim Technique Workout
Warm-up: 300 easy swim
Drill Set: 4x [8×25] at a moderate pace, with a focus on one technique for each of the sets. Take 15–20 seconds rest between each 25.
- Set 1: POSTURE. Focus on head position, looking down to raise your hips.
• Set 2: DIRECTION. Focus on hand entry equal with shoulder, don’t crossover—think “swim like a penguin walks.”
• Set 3: LENGTH. Focus on extending your hand and arm as far as you can above the water, trying to enter with fingertips first. The longer you extend, the better you will rotate.
• Set 4: CATCH. Focus on fingertips entering water first, with a locked wrist. Keep wrist locked with fingertips pointing to bottom of pool for entire catch phase.
Main Set: 10×25 fast with 20 sec rest. Only go as fast as you can hold good form. Focus on what you did in your drill set. Count strokes and time each 25. What was your average stroke count and average time?
Cool-down: 200 easy