A good swimmer must have excellent technique. Improving your swim stroke should be a must and, above all, part of your daily routine.
This article will outline five different drills to be included in your weekly training plan (consisting of five training sessions), each of which focusing on different basic aspects of the freestyle swim stroke.
Lots of swimmers tend to hold their head too high causing greater resistance to forward motion. The best way to correct this fault is to swim 25 m sculling with your hands above your head, your chin almost resting on your chest and your body in a glide position.
Recommended drill: swimming a short distance after each technical drill will reinforce what you have learnt and help you swim with the right posture. So, swim 6×50 #25 front sculling + 25 ordinary swimming with 20 s recovery
Excessive shoulder rotation will prevent you from catching the water properly during your freestyle arm stroke and also result in an irregular leg kick as you attempt to keep your body balanced.
Recommended drill: place a Swim Keel between your knees and imagine your body is inside an imaginary rectangle. The aim is to keep your body aligned, getting rid of any excessive sideways movement and giving you a more symmetrical arm stroke. For example, you could swim 9 x 50 m at a steady pace changing the position of the Swim Keel every 3×50 m and making sure your body is balanced in the various positions.
Leg work certainly is not most swimmers favourite type of exercise, but here is a valuable tip to help you start enjoying it: speed up your leg kick! There is nothing to be gained from a slow leg kick.
Recommended drill: 25m reps with a powerful freestyle leg kick attempting to swim them in 20 -30 s with 20 s recovery.
It is important for swimmers to learn how to breathe on both sides. Bi-lateral breathing gives you a more balanced arm stroke and better forward propulsion.
Recommended drill: practice breathing every 3 strokes. Breathing every stroke will have a negative impact on your balance in the water while breathing every 5 or 7 strokes might be tricky if you are an inexperienced swimmer. Swim 8x25m freestyle breathing every 3 strokes with 15 s rest or 6x50m freestyle breathing every 3 strokes for the first 25 m and every 5 strokes for the second 25 m with 20 s rest.
The underwater leg kick is considered to be the fifth swim stroke and actually the fastest. Watching the world’s best swimmers, you will notice they do not just try and complete a 15 m underwater phase after each tumble turn, they also strive to make this phase as fast as possible.
Recommended drill: begin by swimming 15 m underwater as fast as possible. Do sets of 8 x 15 m wearing fins with 60 s from one rep to the next. When you can control the 15 m underwater phase perfectly, extend it to 25 m. Always make sure your speed is right for you, so that you are not gasping for air.