Swim drills? | 80/20 Endurance

Swim drills?

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    Curry Gallagher

    A few questions:

    1. When in z1 warmup/cooldown, how much of that do you spend doing drills?
    -yesterday i split it 50/50 for 1000 meter cool down. 5 drills x 100 followed by easy 100 swim after 100 of each drill
    -more swimming?
    -warmups are usually a minimal distance, so it seems tough to mix in drills, almost just all drills or all easy freestyle

    2. What drills do you like best? (i usually do the below)
    -ymca, ymc+, core rotations, kick board, power diamond, fist free, scoops, single arm free)

    3. What are thoughts on a dedicated kicking set of some sort? When?

    David Warden

    Curry, I’d love to hear from others on this as well, but here is my recommendation (and it does not mean that it is definitive). Also, this really depends on the swimmer and their abilities.

    1. I would spend all of Zone 1 as drills, but no more than 500. Don’t be afraid to use all Zone 1 as drills, that’s really what we setup Zone 1 for in the swim workouts.

    2. I recommend the drills published in Chapter 19 of Triathlon Science and Chapter 3 of 80/20 Triathlon* which include:

    – Snorkel swimming
    – Swim golf
    – High elbow
    – Catch-up
    – Kick set
    – V-line (not crossing midline during the stroke)
    – Buoy press
    – Swim on side

    I chose these drills as I could find actual empirical evidence for their efficacy. There are many variations of these drills and many ways to achieve the core purpose.

    3. For sure a dedicated kick set as part of warmup or cooldown. Even just 100 every time would provide excellent progress.


    *An anecdote on these swims drills: I originally published them for Triathlon Science, and when we did 80/20 Triathlon I did not want to reinvent that particular table, and so I asked the publisher of Triathlon Science if I could reprint the content in 80/20 Triathlon. They replied that it would require the author’s permission. So, I e-mailed myself asking for permission, replied in the affirmative, and forwarded my own permission that onto the publisher. They then gave approval without further comment. Bureaucracy in action.

    Curry Gallagher

    Thanks David! Your response makes sense to me and it was my hunch and before reading this. It is almost exactly what I did for my warmup and cool down today.

    I used to be a brutal swimmer and while I am still not good, I’ve made a lot of progress this winter focusing almost exclusively on drills and my form for the last 3 months. (mixing in short swims after/during drills). I didnt want to stop drilling just because I am swimming a lot more.

    Hopefully others will chime in with their preferred drills. I’ll have to look up swim golf, thats the only one you mentioned that I dont know by that name.

    One other question: My right side catch, pull and follow through is more well developed than my left. The left side is mostly fine except for after I take a breath. I exclusively breath on the right and I know I should do more bilateral, but I just don’t/wont/cant bring myself. Any drills or thoughts on how I can improve that left side stroke after a breath? I think the faults on the left side are a dropped shoulder, lack of high elbow/almost a straight arm pull.

    I heart red tape that is easily defeated.

    David Warden

    Curry, single arm drill with other arm at side, breathing on both sides should help with this.


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