Team athlete Irene is an accomplished swimmer having represented Malaysia in synchronized swimming in her earlier years. Here, she tells us how to improve in your swim by incorporating drills into your training. Read on and if you are unsure, drop us a question and we'll get Irene to put your doubts to rest...
My favorite sport in triathlon is swimming. Swimming is the one of the non-impact activity sports, which makes it good as a form of cross-training or recovery workout. Swimming is harder to pick up compared to cycling and running. To improve swimming, technique is very important. I highly recommend that beginners stick to drills as much as possible early on. My suggestion of the drills:
1) Catch up
Push off the wall in a streamline and start your catch as you normally would. Leave the opposite hand fully extended, even during the recovery. Allow the recovering arm to “catch up” to the extended arm, touching hands before you begin the catch with the arm that was extended. Now, leave the opposite hand fully extended, even during the recovery. Allow the recovering arm to “catch up” to the extended arm, touching hands before you begin the catch with the arm that was extended.
|Catching up. Learn more here|
Catch up allows the athlete to work on the timing of their breath, a good rotation, and a steady kick. It isolates each arm but allows newer athletes to balance their stroke with less difficulty than they’d have with the opposite arm glued to their side. Catch Up Drill can help correct a short hand entry by forcing the athlete to extend their recovering arm further in an effort to touch their opposite hand.
2) Fingertip Drag Drill
This drill is swimming normal Freestyle while dragging your fingertips along the surface of the water on the recovery. Focus on a high elbow recovery, which ensures proper hand and elbow position at your hand entry. You should also check your body position during this drill, focusing on good side-to-side rotation.
|Image from Youtube Video Here|
An alternate version of this drill involves dragging the entire hand, wrist-deep, through the water. This helps build strength and speed of the arm recovery motion.
3) Closed Fist Swim
This is my favorite drill since it really helps develop a long, efficient stroke. By forming a tight fist around your thumb on the pull, you take your hand out of the equation and force your forearm to pick up the slack. If you've done the drill correctly, when you switch back to regular swimming, you should feel a noticeably more powerful pull. This helps increase the surface area of your arm that's pushing you forward through the water.
Drills can be very boring, so you can add some "toys" during the drill training, eg: paddle, fins, snorkel..... Enjoy the drill and stay tuned for the subsequent swimming improvement article to improve on the kick and also on pulling.