Swim Drill Of The Week: Finish Drill

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 finish drill for freestyle. This drill is a simple but effective way to get swimmers to lengthen out their freestyle stroke and make sure they are accelerating through the underwater pull into their recovery with each stroke.

The drill itself is very simple: have your athletes swim freestyle with a focus on exaggerating the end of the underwater phase of their pull on each stroke. Swimmers should feel like the are accelerating through this last phase of their stroke, throwing the water behind them and forcing their arms out of the water and into a fast recovery.  

While this drill may make your swimmer’s stroke look hitchy, remember this is just an exaggeration of the how you want your swimmer to finish every pull. A common problem in freestyle is dropping the elbow during the pull or exiting the water too early, both of which are extremely inefficient. This drill should cue your swimmers into what it feels like to hold onto the water during the pull phase of their stroke, and will help your athletes distinguish between slipping through the water and holding onto it in the second half of their 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.

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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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