Throughout this workout, I want you to focus on creating a powerful pull. This means anchoring your hand into the water, then using it to pull your body forward. Remember, when you have an efficient freestyle stroke, your hand doesn’t move through the water….you do. Your hand stays where you anchored your hand. Think about getting good distance per stroke.
Today we are working on the last phase of your underwater pull. This is important because it’s the part of the pull that adds the most momentum. “Squeezing” the water towards your thigh pushes you through the water. But it’s important that your lead hand is extended and ready to ride the momentum generated by the squeeze. Your triceps will get a workout here, so make sure they are stretched and ready to go.
This workout is designed to help you practice the full range of your underwater pull. It’s common for swimmers to terminate a pull too early by lifting their hands out of the water without fully extending their arm. The result is a shortened pull. It should be remembered that it’s the second half of the underwater pull that moves the swimmer through the water. Read the section on Pull in the Essential Swim Skills for Beginner Triathletes eBook, especially the comments on the “Push” and “Squeeze” phases. Have fun!
Body rotation is an important trick to learn. It will help you swim through the water with greater efficiency. This is one of the harder drills to help practice body rotation. By removing the over-the-water recovery, it focuses you entirely on the underwater pull. It’s hard because the recovery is through the water, which causes resistance.
Swimming can be a balance between efficiency and effectiveness. There is often a trade off — we can develop an efficient technique while going slow, but it falls apart when we try to pick up the speed.
This drill is designed to help the swimmer maintain efficiency by keeping a low stroke count, whilst also adding speed.
This drill is designed to help make sure that the swimmer completes a full underwater pull. It’s common for swimmers to start their over-the-water recovery before they have maximized the pull. This is inefficient because the last part of the pull is the most powerful part. The front part — the catch — does not add much to the forward momentum for the swimmer. When the swimmer’s hand goes past their shoulder line and then presses through to their side, momentum is gained.
In fact, I often encourage swimmers to think of the underwater phase of their stroke as a pull and push phase. The pull includes the catch and happens in front of the shoulder line.The push happens behind the shoulder line and ends in the swimmers arm straight by their side. Think about climbing out of the pool deck — you pull yourself up until your hands pass your shoulders and then you push yourself up.