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.

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This drill is easy. You simply remember to brush your thigh with your thumb at the end of each stoke. If you feel yourself brushing you hip, you aren’t fully extending your arm.

Coach’s Tips

    • If done correctly for a while, your triceps will burn.
    • Be sure that, when you are brushing your thigh, your lead hand is out front, reaching forward, rolling and gliding.
  • This drill is easy enough to incorporate into other drills. Consider adding this one to finger-tip drag or catch up.