Swim Drills for the Off Season

In the summer months, I love to meet up with friends, put on my wetsuit, and just swim. We head out across the lake, stopping every once in a while to regroup. Once we get to the other side, we will stop, float, chat, and just enjoy the moment.

But, alas, the winter months have arrived. And those leisurely swims have turned into focused pool sessions focusing on drill work to make us better swimmers.

Many of the triathletes I know come from a cycling or running background and they just want to GET THROUGH the swim.

But if you spend some focused quality time working on technique (and swimming is ALL technique), not only will you get out of the water sooner, but with more energy to expend on the areas you already shine.

So here are my 3 favorite pool drills to experiment with this winter!


Works on: Kick efficiency, rotation and good body alignment.

How to do it: With one hand out in front, the other by your side and body turned your bellybutton faces the side wall,  do six kicks while looking at the bottom of the pool. Take one stroke and roll your hips through under the water to swap sides. Repeat the switch every six or so kicks.

The key when doing this is not to lift your head as you take your stroke, and to try to initiate the movement from the hips. You can breath at any point while you’re doing the side kick, just ensure that your eyes are looking to the bottom of the pool while you’re doing the pull through and swapping sides.


Works on: Feeling the pull on the water all through the entire stroke.

How to do it: Keep your chin on the surface of the water so that you can watch your hands and see what’s going on at the front of your stroke. Keeping your hands under the water, stretch forward, bend your elbow outward pushing your hand down, then pressing back past your hips – and stretching the opposite arm forward under the water.

Works on: Balance and control.

How to do it: You can do this with your arm out in front, but for getting the best technical benefit, incorporating body roll and balance to go with the stroke, I prefer swimmers do it with the still arm trailing. Keeping one arm by your side, swim front crawl with only the other arm. The aim is to make sure that your hand enters in line with your shoulders and pulls under the body without crossing the center line.

The real key here is to keep your core engaged – pull your belly button toward your spine, look at the bottom. When you need to breathe make sure you turn your head; if you lift it you’ll end up swallowing water! When your hand enters the water, rock your hip down with it. As your hand comes out of the water rock the same hip back out – or push the opposite hip down. Either way making sure that you keep that body roll from the hips, not the shoulders.

Need some help incorporating these into your training schedule? I’m currently taking new athletes for the upcoming season. Set up a Free 30 Minute Consult Call to learn about coaching options and reserve your spot on my team!

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