Become A Better Swimmer

3 swim drills to improve your speed in the water.


By Beth Shaw


If you have recently started swimming and feel that your technique is pretty good thus far, you’ll more than likely want to know how to get faster. The keys to swimming fast actually have a lot to do with technique, and of course, as with any other endurance activity – fitness level. But let’s start with these three freestyle drills (since that’s the traditionally fastest stroke) that you can implement to help you work on your technique and becoming faster all at the same time.

It’s important to keep in mind that while going through the drills you are paying close attention to how they are changing your technique. Simply doing the drills and going through the motions won’t help your ultimate goal – to become better and faster at swimming!

1. Head Up Freestyle

This is one of the toughest drills to execute but it’s great for balance work, which you need in freestyle. It’s also great to improve your kick, which ultimately helps you maintain a higher body position in the water. Remember, the higher you are in the water, the easier you will glide through it as you pull and kick.

For this drill, simply swim your regular freestyle stroke but keep your head up out of the water and looking forward. You’ll have to kick more and really want to turn your head side-to-side, but don’t! This will help core strength too. It’s best to do this drill after your warm up and before the main set.

2. Catch Up Freestyle

This drill is a classic go-to drill for swim coaches across the country. The reason is because it’s simple to execute but packs a punch when it comes to helping with distance per stroke and avoiding a hand that crosses over.

For this drill, maintain your regular flutter kick and start your catch as you normally would. Then allow the recovering arm to “catch up” to the straight or extended arm. Touch hands before you begin the catch with extended arm.

3. One Arm Paddle

This drill requires hand paddles but is great to help you work on your EVF or early vertical forearm.

With a set of paddles swim 50 yards or 100 yards with only one paddle on one hand. Pay close attention to how the arm you started with enters the water and if it feels strong or weak. After that, wear a paddle on the opposite arm. Having a good EVF results in a more powerful pull, which will translate to speed.

There are numerous swimming drills out there so try as many as you can and again, pay close attention to the focus of the drill for the most effectiveness.

Beth is a running and triathlon coach from Florida who began her journey through health and fitness as a high school swimmer. After leading an unhealthy lifestyle while in college she made changes to get back in shape. Since then, she's completed numerous marathons and triathlons and finished her first full Ironman in 2014. She's also a freelance fitness writer and blogger. Her passion is fitness in all forms, though she enjoys running and swimming the most, and she believes in doing what makes you happy and healthy.

Main Photo Credit & Third Photo Credit: Jacob Lund/; Second Photo Credit: Hafiz Johari/

Sat Nov 25 06:43:52 UTC 2017

Cool 😎