Well, no one asked for it, but I wanted to put out some ideas for swimming drills that will help you become a better swimmer. I have been reading A LOT of swimming books lately, and I have read a lot of good ideas for improving stroke. I am working on a post specific to open water, but it’s not ready (or I’m not ready? Not sure there…). I put these drills in my ziploc to take to the pool so I have them handy as I am creating a workout. Hopefully, you can add your ideas to this, or if you have questions, let me know!
Body rotation is an essential component of a good freestyle stroke. Most people who struggle to swim lack good body rotation, or they do not have all the parts rotating together, creating a “wiggly” stroke. Rotation needs to come from your upper body and your core, but your hips should be rotating too. You might be surprised to learn you need to have both balance and core strength in swimming. Dry land core strength exercises will help you.
The book Open Water Swimming by Steve Munatones is awesome, and some of the drills we do in practice are highlighted in his book.
Some body rotation drills include:
1. Kick with arms at your side, breathing one side and then the other side. We did this drill with Coach Bob, who is awesome!
2. Sidekick- one arm in front of you, one arm at your side. One thing I learned in this video is that you should do this drill with your face in the water, pointed at the bottom.
3. Switch kick- kick with one arm extended for 6 or 8 kicks, then switch to the other side and do the same.
One thing Munatones’ book recommends is swimming with a pull buoy between your lower legs or ankles. I tried this the other day, and while I agree it helps with your rotation, my lower back was hurting at the end of practice. Maybe I need some more core work? LOL.
Something I always try to think about while I am swimming is rotating my core around my spine- tightly. I try to think about “zipping up” my body around my midline. In yoga balance poses, I always try to suck all my body parts towards the midline of my body so I can balance. This process still generally results in me tipping over, but I am extremely clumsy, so you might have better results.
Lastly, that video clip above has some good ideas about balance practice in the water. I am gonna give them a try next time I’m in the pool. If you have some good swimming drills or ideas, pass them on! Have fun!