Fitter And Faster Swim Drill Of The Week: Slide Drill

Welcome to the “Swim Drill of the Week” sponsored by The Fitter and Faster Swim Tour presented by Swimoutlet.com. Swimming World will be bringing you a drill, concept, or tip that you can 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), Drill Of The Week excerpts are meant to be flexible for your needs and inclusive for all levels of swimming.

This week’s drill is Slide Drill for freestyle. This drill is similar to underwater recovery drill in that it focuses on developing a high elbow catch and maintaining contact with the water all throughout the pull phase of the stroke. Where it differs is that it mimics a normal freestyle stroke in a lot of ways (including above water recovery), albeit at a much slower pace.

Pushing off of the wall, swimmers will be to take their first stroke of freestyle as they normally would. The difference is that everything is slowed down: instead of pulling through at a normal tempo, swimmers will dramatically slow down their pull and “kick through” the catch phase of their stroke. That means using the propulsion from the legs to “feel” the contact or hold that the swimmer has with each pull. This emphasizes establishing contact early on in the stroke, from the moment that the catch is initiated in the front quadrant of the stroke.

The purpose of this drill is not to go fast or necessarily pull a lot of water but rather get a better sense of body position, hold of the water, and ultimately develop a more efficient stroke. Doing this drill with a snorkel and fins can be especially helpful, as it gives more power to the kick and allows the swimmers to find a better feel of their contact with the water. Mixing this drill into warm-up or alternating it with more tempo driven drills like underwater recovery can keep your swimmers engaged while improving their freestyle. 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.

2 Comments

2 comments

  1. avatar
    Rachel

    Is there a video? It would help visualize the drill!

  2. avatar

    I am a swimmer and I have done this drill many times and I find it to be very helpful. However, I pic or video would be helpful to see what you are talking about.

Author: James Sica

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James Sica is the Men and Women's Assistant Coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been an assistant coach at CMU in Pittsburgh, PA (2015-2017), a volunteer assistant coach with the Harvard women’s program (2014-2015) and an assistant with the Ithaca College men's program (2012-2014).

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