Training Tip: The Importance of Distance Per Stroke

Ian THORPE of Australia is pictured during a training session at his 50m outdoor training pool at the Centro sportivo nazionale della gioventu in Tenero, Switzerland, Friday, Sept. 9, 2011. (Photo by Patrick B. Kraemer / MAGICPBK)

Training Tip: The Importance of Distance Per Stroke

Swimming World will periodically bring you a topic that will be explored through drills and concepts to implement on a regular basis. While certain tips may be more appropriate for specific levels of swimming (club, high school, college, or masters), the tips are meant to be flexible for your needs and inclusive for all levels of swimming.

This training tip is centered around Distance Per Stroke (DPS). This is a term that is thrown around a lot in swimming, and for good reason. The greater your distance per stroke, the more efficient you are moving through the water, which ultimately makes for faster swimming.

We are going to focus on one of the key elements of distance per stroke: the extension at the front end of your stroke. This is a logical place to start, as the quality of a stroke is often determined by the hold that you establish at the front end of your stroke. There are a lot of drills out there that can help your swimmers work on staying on the surface of the water, but it is best to keep it as simple as possible.

Body Position Drills

Hand-lead kicking with both arms extended in front is a great drill for body position, but it also reminds your swimmers of what it feels like to be at their tallest on the surface of the water. Try mixing in 25s of hand-lead kicking with a snorkel in warmup, encouraging them to be as tall in the water as possible when completing the drill.

Balance Drills

Other great drills for reminding swimmers of the extension they should have in their stroke include any sort of balance kicking with one arm in front or kick/swim drills such as 6 kick switch or 3-6-3 DPS, drills that have them working on length through their stroke while switching from side to side.

More Advanced Drills…

For more advanced swimmers, try using drills such as catch-up eleven, straight arm free, or long axis combo — all drills that have your swimmers playing with the length and tempo of their strokes while moving forward and trying to stay tall in the water.  

Revisiting these drills regularly is a great way to continually remind swimmers to keep their strokes long and extended far in front. 

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Pro Women Fitness
6 years ago

Hey, nice job, keep posting!

Yes please
Yes please
3 years ago

Heads up: the “3-6-3 Drill” page has a video marked “private”

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