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Catch-up and Fingertip Drag Swimming Drills

Freestyle Drills to Improve Swimming Technique

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Swimming drills are specific movements, done repetitively, to get your technique "in the groove." They can help you get more efficient and they can help you become a faster swimmer. Generally included in all workouts, most coaches feel that you can never do enough technique work. You should include some in your workouts, too.
  • Catch-up: to isolate one arm, to practice a long stroke and a long body position.
    • Swum like regular freestyle, except one arm is stationary, always extended forward (front arm), pointing toward the destination, while the other arm performs the stroke (working arm).
    • When the working arm moves forward and "catches-up" with the stationary arm, they change places.
  • 3/4 Catch-up: Just like full catch-up, except the stationary (front) arm begins to work or move before the other arm fully "catches-up" - it begins to move after the working arm is about 3/4 of the way through a full arm motion.
  • Catch-up with a board: Just like regular catch-up, only your front hand is holding a kick board.
    • As the arms trade places, they hand off the board to each other.
    • You can substitute a pencil - or anything else that won't make you sink.
  • Fingertip Drag: to promote a high elbow recovery and to make you aware of your hand position during recovery.
    • Swum like regular freestyle, except your fingertips never leave the water as your arm moves forward during the stroke recovery.
    • You drag your fingers forward through the water, slightly off to the side of your body, focusing on good body roll and keeping your elbows pointed up.
    • Change how much of your hand stays in the water: fingertips, hand, wrist, even your whole forearm.

There are plenty of variations for all of these drills. You can also combine drills to work on several skills at once, or to add even more emphasis to a single element. Experiment with these drills and develop some of your own. Always work to improve your technique.

Swimmers, learn how to improve your swimming technique to swim faster and more efficiently by watching this video of 5 stroke technique drills.

Swim On!

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