FINIS Tip Of The Week: 2 Up, 2 Down Breaststroke


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Welcome to the “FINIS Tip of the Week.” Swimming World will be bringing you a topic that we’ll explore with drills and concepts for you to implement with your team on a regular basis. While certain weeks may be more appropriate for specific levels of swimming (club, high school, college, or masters), each tip is meant to be flexible for your needs and inclusive for all levels of swimming.

This week’s drill is 2 up, 2 down breaststroke and is a fun drill to play around with your tempo and the timing of your breaststroke.

To practice the drill you alternate between two “head up” strokes (i.e. – do not put the head back in the water after the breath) with two longer breaststroke cycles. The head up cycles should be fast, with a focus on not pausing at any point in your stroke cycle. Specifically, watch that swimmers are driving through the middle of the stroke cycle quickly and minimizing any pause that may normally come at the start of the stroke.

The two “down” cycles should be longer, distance per stroke focused cycles. Alternating between these two stroke tempos will give swimmers a chance to reset their timing between fast strokes while also helping them learn how to gain better control their tempo and timing.

Ultimately, this drill should help makes it easier for your athletes to hold onto their timing when they sprint breaststroke. You can also play around with the number of “head up” cycles you want to do with this drill, making it three, four, or even half a length of them really focusing on driving their tempo.

All swimming and dryland training and instruction should be performed under the supervision of a qualified coach or instructor, and in circumstances that ensure the safety of participants.

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1 comment

  1. avatar

    Actually the swimmers should practice extending the glide after the kick while the head is in the 2 down cycles. Just one additional tenth of a second of the glide with the head under water will reduce the swimmers time during a race. Also during each cycle the swimmers should practice allowing the hips to ride up higher after the kick.

    During the two head up strokes the swimmer should concentrate on faster hands and still getting a glide after the kick.

    The men are getting their heads under water and including a small glide while the head is under, even in the 50 m breast. The rest of the world is way ahead of us on this, no American is within half a second of the top ten men, which ends up at least 0.75 to 1.0 seconds behind on the 100 breast.

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