Swim Drill Of The Week: Three Point Recovery

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 Three Point Recovery for freestyle. This drill helps swimmers to develop a high elbow recovery while also working on their coordination and body position. To perform the drill, swimmers need to make contact with three points on the recovery phase of their stroke: their hip, their shoulder, and their head.

With each freestyle stroke, swimmers will tap each of these three points with their hand during their recovery. This forces swimmers to keep their recovery relaxed with a high elbow. It is impossible to get to any of these three points with a forced recovery or a straight arm. Rather, this drill is meant to practice bringing their arm back to the front of their stroke with as little effort as possible while also reminding them to be mindful of their body position and to use their core and kick at all points in their stroke.

Be sure to watch your swimmers’ body position as they are moving through the drill. It is common, particularly among beginning swimmers, to see your athletes move out of a straight line body position when tapping their hip, shoulder, and head. This is a sign they are not utilizing their kick or core efficiently within their stroke. Remind them to keep a high body position by maintaining a strong kick and driving their rotation from their hips. Over time, this drill will teach your swimmers the proper cadence of a long, relaxed 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.

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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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