Swim Drill Of The Week: Butterfly Dolphin Dives

Welcome to the “Swim Drill of the Week”. 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 Butterfly Dolphin Dives, a body position drill. While this may seem more like playing in the water than a technical drill at first, when implemented correctly this can be a useful and fun drill to improve your swimmers’ body awareness and control in the water.

This drill is exactly like the image the name evokes: moving down the length of the pool, swimmers will dive down and then launch themselves to surface, diving back down and repeating it the length of the pool. For young beginning swimmers this is as far as the drill needs to go. The natural undulation from diving up and down throughout the length mimics the undulation in butterfly and will teach them to use their core to control their body. Make sure they are streaming when pushing off the bottom of the pool and controlling their exit and re-entry into the water.

For older swimmers, you can make the drill more challenging by having them push off into a breakout and a single stroke of butterfly before diving back down to the bottom. This forces them to make the connection between the body awareness this drill invokes and the undulation and core control during butterfly. Again, emphasize acceleration to the surface of the water through a tight streamline and narrow body position before performing a clean single stroke and diving back down.

However you use this drill, when doing it repeatedly it is very easy for your athletes to spot moments of resistance. Encourage them to find the best “feel” of the water by working on their body position and core engagement and you will help them develop a better awareness of how they are moving themselves through the water in all of their strokes. 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.

3 Comments

3 comments

  1. Julie Lee

    Can you post a video of it pls.

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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