FINIS Tip Of The Week: Playing With Breaststroke Pull


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 tip is alternating single arm breaststroke, a drill meant to help improve your timing and pull efficiency.

The idea of single arm breaststroke can be used in a few different ways. You can choose to alternate between a right arm pull, a left arm pull, and a full normal pull throughout a length, isolate just the left or right side, or do some other combination of single arm pulls (i.e. – 2 right arm, 2 left arm, 1 full).

While completing the single arm pulls, swimmers should have their opposite arm extended in front of their body and take a full breaststroke kick following each pull. With their pulling arm, they should focus on a strong insweep with a high elbow catch that doesn’t have any pause heading into the recovery forward.

To get a feel for the drill, starting with just the right or left side can help your athletes get a better sense of the timing and practice a strong and quick insweep. Once they have a handle on a single arm pull, alternating between the single arms pulls will challenge swimmers to clue into their timing even more.

During single arm breaststroke, it is common to see swimmers slip through their stroke, pause at their chest with their pulling arm, or try to use their non-pulling arm. Encourage them to drive forward through each pull, and after a few cycles they should feel that translate to their normal breaststroke pull. The end result will be a better awareness of their timing and a stronger, more efficient pull. Happy swimming!

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.


  1. avatar

    A total waste of time from a drill that just had to be invented by a freestyler.
    There are so many better drills than this one.