By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Monday, June 1, 2015
University of Louisville head coach, Arthur Albiero, incorporates the “Straight Arm Drill” into his swimmers’ training regimens to ensure they eliminate excess drag in the freestyle stroke. As an added dimension, coach Albiero has swimmers use a sponge as well to force them to use more power.
Straight Arm Drill / Sponge Drill
Drill Summary: Swimmers push off the wall and work on keeping their arms straight. Swimmers start off slowly and increase speed as they approach the opposite wall, focusing on swimming in a straight line for maximum efficiency. For the “Sponge Drill”, you’ll need to tie a sponge so it trails behind the swimmer as they execute their stroke.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Friday, May 1, 2015
If swimmers want to develop an efficient freestyle stroke, they need to learn to get their elbows high into the air and glide on the side of their bodies in the water. American record breaker Josh Davis uses the “Thumb Drag” or “Zipper” drill to teach these concepts to swimmers of all ages.
Thumb Drag or Zipper Drill
Drill Summary: Swimmers push off the wall and swim the length of the pool using a freestyle stroke. The key to this drill is dragging the thumb of each hand up the side of the body until it touches the arm pit on every stroke. This will ensure swimmers get their elbows pointing up and help them develop a rhythm in the water.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Wednesday, April 1, 2015
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.
Head Up and Head Down Swim with Weight Belt
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.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Sunday, March 1, 2015
A great streamline is one of the most important aspects of any swimmer’s freestyle. In this drill, five time NCAA Coach of the Year Jack Bauerle wants his athletes to find the proper head position in the water before getting into the full stroke. Correct head position will help the athlete be more comfortable and cut through the water.
Drill Summary: Swimmers will need a snorkel for this drill. The swimmer pushes off the wall, but stays flat in the water with their hands sculling. Next, the swimmer slowly raises their hands into the streamline position before starting the stroke. Focus on finding good body and head position.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Sunday, February 1, 2015
Ohio State University men’s swimming coach Bill Wadley shows how he teaches his swimmers to finish a freestyle sprint. Learn to finish strong courtesy of the Buckeye swimming program!
Freestyle Sprint Finish
Drill Summary: When approaching the wall, swimmers should hold their posture in line, keeping the head still and the stroke as big as possible out in front. Coach Wadley says swimmers should finish high and firm on the pad, and complete the race in “opposite action position” (one arm up and one arm back).