Friday, November 1, 2013




(1.)  ALTERNATE BREATHING DRILL – This drill is done during a set of 50s.  On the odd ones, have the swimmers breathe to the right on the first lap and to the left on the second lap.  On the even ones, have the swimmers breathe every three strokes.  (Tom Himes – North Baltimore Aquatic Club)

(2.)  BREATHING PATTERN DRILL – Have the swimmers swim a set of 6 x 50s at the end of a particularly strenuous practice session.  The set should be done at the end of practice so the swimmers will be as fatigued as they would be in the second half of a 100 race.  Swim the repeats at 100 speed starting each with a turn to simulate the second half of a 100 race.  Alternate n a random manner the various breathing patterns that might be used during the 100.  Caution the swimmers to maintain the same effort per repeat.  You can check this by counting heart rates immediately after each swim.  Keep a record of the times and breathing patterns used.  The pattern than consistently produces the fastest time should be the one used in competition.  If two or more patterns produce identical times, the one that allows for more frequent breathing should be used because that pattern will produce a greater oxygen supply.  (Ernest W. Maglischo – California State University – Chico)

(3.)  BILATERAL BREATHING – Have the swimmers breathe every three or every five strokes.  This provides for stroke balance, promotes shoulder roll, and is a good lead-up to hypoxic training.


(1.)  KICKING ON YOUR SIDE – This is done with the bottom arm extended and the top arm on the hip.  One goggle should remain underwater at all times.  This drill helps the swimmer establish the feel for the water on the feet.  Because of a swimmer’s sensitivity to water pressure, this drill will enable the swimmer to “feel” the proper kick mechanics.  Be sure that the swimmers kick both forward and backward.

(2.)  POWER KICK – Swimmers kick underwater with their arms up in front in a streamline position.  They can be asked to kick for specified distances underwater, or they can do this drill across the width of the pool. 

(3.)  6 – 6 TURNS – The swimmers do a turn, then push off on their back for six kicks.  They then turn to their side for six kicks before doing a bottom arm pull.  They must stay streamlined past the flags during all the kicking.  (Dan Patton – Birmingham Swim League)

(4.)  SPRINT/KICK DRILL – The swimmers start in the middle of the pool and sprint to the wall, emphasizing their reach for the wall on every stroke.  After 15-20 seconds of rest, have the swimmers push off the wall, holding a tight streamline position, and kick back to the middle of the pool.  (Tom Himes – N.B.A.C.)

(5.)  360-DEGREE TURNS – The swimmers push off the wall, either at the start of a repeat or after a turn, holding a tight streamline position.  They should then rotate, towards their bottom arm, and complete an entire 360-degree roll before doing a bottom arm pull to the surface.


(1.)  ARMPIT DRILL – The swimmers should touch their armpit during recovery.  They should concentrate on keeping their elbows up and sliding their hands close to the body.  (Jon Urbanchek – Univeristy of Michigan)

(2.)  FINGER TIP DRAG – The swimmers drag the tips of the fingers of the recovery hand through the water with a high elbow.  Their hands should remain close to the body.  This drill is sometimes done while running the thumb up the side.

(3.)  SPLASHLESS DRILL – The swimmers should emphasize entering the water without making a splash.  They should run their hands forward, about 8 to 10 inches below the surface, to ride out the stroke to full extension on the side.  (Kathy McKee – Dynamo Swim Club)

(4.)  TARZAN SWIMMING – Have the swimmers swim with their heads up.  Their heads should not move during the drill and they should focus their eyes on a point and make any necessary changes themselves.  This drill helps hand speed and the catch at the top of the stroke.

(5.)  THUMB TRACE – The swimmers should trace their thumb up the side of the body during recovery.  They should feel the high elbow recovery position.

(6.)  WRIST DRAG – With their heads up, have the swimmers drag their entire hand through the water and force the elbow forward.  This teaches shoulder lift as well as a high elbow position.  The water pressure encountered by the hand will elevate the elbow.  This drill also works well with fins.  (Bill Miller – Clarion University)


(1.)  CATCH-UP STROKE – The swimmers pull with one arm while the other arm remains outstretched in front.  They should recover with a high elbow until both hands touch together in front.  This is continued one arm, then the other.  The swimmers need to have a steady kick and breathe every three strokes throughout the drill.  This drill also helps to establish smoothness and hand acceleration at the back part of the stroke. 

(2.)  EXTENDED DOG PADDLE – The swimmers complete the entire stroke cycle, including the recovery, underwater.  Their head should remain above the water and they should concentrate on snapping the wrist at the conclusion of the pull.  This drill is good for press-out at the end of the stroke, extension of the hand, and body roll. 

(3.)  FIST SWIMMING – Have the swimmers’ hands enter the water with fingers extended, but then close the fist during the pull/push phase of the stroke.  This drill allows them to feel pressure on the entire arm, not just the hand.  They should feel the high elbow during the pull/push phase.  This drill is good for adding speed to the pull and emphasizing the acceleration of the hand through the stroke.

(4.)  HAND SCULL DRILL – The swimmers scull their outstretched hand for three-count while on their side.  They should then recover with a full pull and repeat on the opposite side.  (Sherwood Watts – Sarasota Y Sharks)

(5.)  HESITATION DRILL – The swimmers kick a 25 with one arm extended forward and the other arm at their side so that they are swimming on their side with one shoulder out of the water.  The swimmers head position should be looking forward and down so that the surface of the water is between the swimmer’s hairline and the middle of the head.  They should keep a steady kick as their body rolls from side to side.  The swimmers should change sides by doing a good freestyle pull.  Swimmers should breathe quickly every time they switch sides.  They can switch sides every 12.5 yards, every 2-3 seconds, or every 4, 6, 8, or 12 kicks.  This drill helps with the feel of the water while rolling and with bilateral breathing. 

(6.)  ONE ARM FREESTYLE – Swimmers should swim with one arm at their side.  They should breathe on the side with the arm down.  Swimmers should emphasize the acceleration during the back part of the stroke and a high elbow/shoulder during recovery.  This drill is good for establishing the swimmer’s feel of the water.

(7.)  PULLING/SWIMMING WITH HAND PADDLES – Pulling or swimming with hand paddles helps to improve the pattern of the stroke and the feel of the water.  Be careful to use paddles only under supervision.  Using paddles is not recommended for younger swimmers.

(8.)  S-DRILL – Have the swimmers kick on their sides with one arm out in front and their faces in the water.  Swimmers can then watch the arm perform the “S” pull pattern underwater.  (Kathy McKee – D.S.C.)

(9.)  +2, 0, -2 STROKE COUNT DRILL – Have the swimmers swim 2 x 25 and count their strokes to get an average stroke count.  Then go a set such as 12 x 75.  The first 25, of each 75, they should take two strokes over the average.  On the second 25, they should take the average number of strokes.  And on the third 25, have them take two strokes less than the average.  (Kathy McKee – D.S.C.)

(10.)  VIKING DRILL – This drill is done as a 100.  The first 25 the swimmers scull with their arms extended out in front.  The next 25 they scull with their upper arms near their ribcage and their fingers pointed toward the bottom of the pool.  On the third 25 have them scull with their arms extended down to their hips.  The final 25 is full stroke.  While sculling, the swimmers should kick as little as possible.  This drill is excellent for establishing the swimmer’s feel of the water.  (Wally Morton – Cleveland