Key Swim Drills for a Triathlete

Key Swim Drills for a Triathlete 

written by Hector L Torres

You have spent a lot of time in the water and you want to get faster. However, you need to focus on technique to develop a more efficient swim stroke. Enclosed you will find a list of drills to incorporate into your swim sessions.

When you incorporate these drills, you need to focus on your catch, pull, recovery and feel for the water, during your warm up and/or cool down. You need to be consistent to make a feel difference.

Hand over-head: This is an alternating single-arm drill. Take a stroke and place the hand over your head for 6 kicks. Then switch with the other arm. This drill works on timing and correct time for the stroke.

Single arm: Keep one arm in front while you stroke with the other. Think about reaching over a barrel with a bent elbow in the beginning to initiate a powerful pull. However, please keep in mind that you need reach with each stroke you take and pass the opposite hand before taking the stroke.

Fist: Swim with your fingers closed into a fist.  This drill helps promote elbow bending in the beginning of the pull. Make sure your fist are completely closed and that when the arm enters the water, you extend your entire body and have a feeling of the water during the entire stroke.

Catch-up: This is an alternating single-arm drill. Wait for your hand to pass the other before pulling. This drill works on your pull and rotation. Take your time when you do this drill and focus on body rotation.

Finger-tip drag: On your recovery, drag you finger tips lightly across the water before entering for the next pull. This works on high elbow during the recovery. As mentioned earlier, take your time while doing this drill.

Scull: On your stomach, with arms stretched out, place your palms together and thumbs up. Rotate hands so that thumbs are down (with hands apart) and move your palms outward while pushing water out just past shoulder width. Rotate hands to thumbs up and push water back in (almost a figure 8.) Feeling the water pressure with your hands and arms should move you forward in the pool. Keep your face in the water during the drill, raising your head to breathe while kicking.

Sculling Drill No. 1

  • Floating vertically with your hands at waist level and palms facing the bottom of the pool, press your palms outward with the little finger toward the surface, then rotate your hand and press inward with the thumb up. Feel the water pressure in both directions and do a figure eight with your hands at approximately the same depth throughout. Feel your body slightly lift as you move your hands in and out.
  • Lie on your back with your hands at your hips and palms facing the bottom of the pool. Scull with the same figure-eight pattern. Experiment with changing the pitch of your hands to deliver the best propulsion.

For more information on how to practice these drills, please show up to Swim Practice on

YMCA Aquatic Center

Address: 8422 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819

Dates and times: Monday and Friday at 5:30 am

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Categories: Coach's Corner, News

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