5 Ways to Perfect Your Stroke From 2 Pro Triathletes

When it comes to becoming a more efficient, stronger swimmer, sometimes it's key to press pause on the long sets and go back to the basics.

"Use the offseason to really concentrate on having the perfect stroke," says professional triathlete Rebeccah Wassner. "Forget about pace, and take the time to think about the things you need to work on."

We had Wassner and her twin sister (and fellow pro) Laurel reveal the drills that have helped propel them to the top of the sport. Insert them between your warm-up and your main set to concentrate on perfecting your stroke.

More: How Efficient Is Your Swimming?

Drill #1: Both Sides Breathing

The Focus: Alternate side breathing. "Breathing to both sides will balance out your stroke, plus it can help make you more relaxed and comfortable about sighting on race day," says Wassner.

Work it in:

  • Do a set of 4 x 100m, alternating by 25m (25 breathing on the right, 25 breathing on the left, 25 left, then 25 right).
  • Rest 15 seconds after each 100.

More: Breathing Mechanics That Will Help Your Freestyle

Drill #2: Head Up

The Focus: Stronger sighting. "Swimming freestyle with your head out of the water builds arm strength and gets you used to different situations that may pop up in a race," says Laurel.

Work it in:

Do a set of 5 x 50m, broken up as follows:
  • 1: 5 strokes head up, then do regular free swim the rest of the way.
  • 2: 10 strokes head up, then regular free swim the rest of the way.
  • 3: 15 strokes head up.
  • 4: 20 strokes head up.
  • Then do 100m, sighting every 10 strokes.

More: How to Sight Like a Professional Swimmer

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About the Author

Sarah Wassner Flynn

A Rockville, Maryland-based writer, Sarah Wassner Flynn is a lifelong runner who writes about the sport for publications like Competitor, Triathlete, New York Runner, and espnW. Mom to Eamon, Nora, and Nellie, Sarah has also written several nonfiction books for children and teens. Follow her on Twitter at @athletemoms.

A Rockville, Maryland-based writer, Sarah Wassner Flynn is a lifelong runner who writes about the sport for publications like Competitor, Triathlete, New York Runner, and espnW. Mom to Eamon, Nora, and Nellie, Sarah has also written several nonfiction books for children and teens. Follow her on Twitter at @athletemoms.

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