Swimming Technique Drills for Freestyle - Catch Up Drill

by Pool Builders on 05-14-2012 in Articles

After being a competitive swimmer for over fifteen years and even competing in the sport at the collegiate D1 level, I have come to offer some advice on how to improve your technique for freestyle. There are many drills in which I have used over the years to improve my efficiency in the water, but none have been as beneficial as the drill named Catch Up.

This drill is especially beneficial for swimmers who need work on the timing of their stroke. This drill has went in and out of popularity over the span of my swimming career, and now is very much back in action.

To begin, push off the wall in the streamline position. Once surfaced, begin to kick lightly with the scissor kick motion. At this point, your body should be facing the bottom of the pool, with your head facing downwards. Head position in swimming is crucial, as a bad head position will throw your whole stroke off. If your head is facing too far forwards, it will make your legs sink, thus ruining your body position.

Now you will separate your arms from the streamline position into a somewhat Superman position, with both arms out in front of you. While still kicking, simultaneously rotate onto your side while pulling down with one of your arms, leaving the other one in front of you.

When you finish the recovery of the stroke, your hands should connect again and your body position in the water should be neutral. Repeat this process again with the other arm, while rotating to the other side. If you need to breath, make sure to take the breath early in the stroke, as you initiate the pull.

Also, make sure not to pull the head to far out of the water, as it will once again ruin your body position by sinking your lower half. You need to make it a short breath in order to be ready for the recovery of the stroke. If you are pulling with your left arm, you should rotate onto your right side and also breathe towards the left. This process will be exactly the opposite when you initiate the pull with your right arm.

This drill will definitely not be easy to pick up, but it is super beneficial to your technique. It helps correct head position, and also work on the timing of the stroke. Even late in my career as a swimmer, I still turn to Catch Up drill if my stroke is feeling sluggish or just "off" in general. If you need a complement to my written instructions, here is a video of someone performing this drill.

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