Swim Drill Of The Week: High Tempo Breaststroke Progression

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 progression works on finding a low, high tempo breaststroke. Take a look at the progression below and the description that follows:

1 x 25’s Upside down underwater Breaststroke

2 x 25’s Tennis ball Breaststroke

2 x 25’s Breaststroke w/ flutter kick (w/ fins)

This progression starts with one of the most disorienting breaststroke drills: upside down underwater breaststroke. The progression starts off with this drill to take swimmers out of their comfort zone and have them re-evaluate how they are moving through the water. This drill is literally turning what they know about breaststroke on their heads and forcing them to examine what is the most efficient way to move through the water in an inherently inefficient position.

Next, your athletes will grab a tennis ball and place it under their chin for the next drill, tennis ball breaststroke. The point of this drill in this context is to keep your swimmers’ heads still and directing their momentum forward. You are moving from a drill where they had to really control their body line in an inefficient and unfamiliar position to a much more restricted position. This should help them feel any inefficiencies in their stroke and work on minimizing any drag between strokes.

Finally, swimmers will grab fins and complete a couple 25’s of breaststroke pull with flutter kick. These 25’s should be all out, high tempo breaststroke that is again working on finding the most efficient breaststroke possible. While these three drills may not appear to have much in common, when you put them together it should help your athletes develop a more effective sprint breaststroke.

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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