Drill #3: Swim Golf
The Focus: Longer, stronger strokes. "For this drill, you count your strokes over a 50," explains Rebeccah. "With every subsequent interval, try to lower that count. Getting familiar with a stroke count will help with efficiency over longer distances, and you'll work on getting a more powerful pull."
More: Why Count Strokes?
Work it in:
- Do a set of 9 x 50m broken up as follows:
- 1-3 50m: Swim at a moderate pace, counting strokes and noting your times.
- 4-6: Slow down and stretch out your stroke, counting your strokes and trying to get as few as possible. "Don't worry about time," says Rebeccah.
- 7-9: Try to pick up the pace while holding a lower stroke count. Aim to swim the same times as the first three 50s, with a lower stroke count.
Drill #4: Fingertip Drag
The Focus: Body Position. "Here, you want to drag your fingertips across the water during the recovery phase of your stroke—or while you're bringing your arm back in front of you," explains Laurel. "The exaggerated motion of the fingertip drag keeps your elbow high and engages the lats. This makes the correct placement deliberate."
Work it in:
- Do a set of 8 x 50m fingertip drag, building your pace by 25.
Drill #5: Perfect Stroke 50s
The Focus: Maximum efficiency and good form. "This lets you really concentrate on the ideal stroke instead of worrying about the time on the clock," says Rebeccah.
Work it in: "At the end of your drill set, swim 4 x 50m with what you feel is a perfect stroke," says Rebeccah. "Slow down, don't think about the time, and just think about the things you need to work on."
And if you're not sure what you need to work on? Schedule a one-on-one session with a coach or instructor. "An expert will be able to identify weaknesses quickly," says Rebeccah. Joining a masters team can also boost your swimming strength. To find one near you, check out U.S. Masters Swimming.race.