Bill Dorenkott, Ohio State head women’s swimming coach, uses the “Forward Start with Butterfly Breakout Half Cycle Glide for Distance” drill to make sure his swimmers are being as efficient as possible on every butterfly start. This drill will increase explosiveness and allow swimmers to achieve maximum speed with minimum effort.
Drill Summary: For this drill, the swimmer takes their mark and begins by executing a forward start. On their breakout, the swimmer focuses on maintaining momentum from their start in their first cycle. Once their first cycle is completed, the swimmer glides for as long as they can. The next progression of this drill is to increase to three cycles. When doing three cycles, it’s still important to allow the momentum of the start to carry the swimmer through their first cycle and a half so they can conserve energy for later in the race.
In this drill, Dr. Sam Freas of Oklahoma Baptist University teaches swimmers how to maintain good body position when using the freestyle stroke. Drills like this helped Dr. Freas lead the Bison to the title at the 2014 NAIA Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships.
Drill Summary: For this drill, coach Freas places a rope about six inches under the water (held down by a weight belt) about five yards off the end of the lane. Swimmers will need to wear a weight belt around their waist to do this drill as well. To begin, the swimmer pushes off the wall and swims under the rope, focusing on staying down and keeping their head flat to their back. Once they’ve made it under the rope, the swimmer breaks out into their stroke. Coach Freas stresses the importance of keeping the feet up during the stroke to increase power. During the first rep’s breakout, have the swimmer keep their head up. On the second rep, have them keep their head down. After a few reps, remove the weight belt and do the drill again without the added weight.
One of the keys to a quality backstroke is the propulsion swimmers get from their kick. Four time Ivy League Coach of the Year Matt Kredich helps swimmers get a feel for the water with this kicking drill that uses different angles in the water to develop peak propulsion.
Drill Summary: In this backstroke drill, the swimmer pushes off the wall and puts their arms at their hips. From that position, the swimmer rotates their body to the left while maintaining their kick and holds that position for a couple seconds before returning to the neutral position. Then, the swimmer does the same thing to the right. Keep alternating sides for the length of the pool, remembering to stop briefly at the neutral position between switching sides. This drill increases propulsion from the swimmer’s toes and allows them to work on creating balance with their feet.
Eight time NCAA Coach of the Year David Marsh knows a thing or two about winning championships. In this drill, you’ll learn the technique coach Marsh teaches his swimmers to use when they enter the water on a start. Using the proper form and entry angle will allow athletes to maintain as much momentum as possible into their races.
Drill Summary: When entering the water, coach Marsh stresses the importance of holding a solid, rigid body. Keeping the body as narrow as possible is important, and shaping the body in the “banana” position can help swimmers go into the water flawlessly.
Two time Olympic Gold Medalist Mark Gangloff uses the “Accordion Drill” to ensure his hands and feet always use the right action. Gangloff credits his former coach David Marsh for this drill, which is sure to help any athlete with their breaststroke.
Drill Summary: For this drill, swimmers will need a snorkel. The swimmer starts in the streamline position. The hands will stay in the streamline position for the entirety of the drill, but the swimmer breaks their elbows and brings their hands into their head. At the same time, the swimmer brings their heels into their butt. Once the swimmer is fully contracted, they perform a breaststroke kick and push their hands out simultaneously.