Freestyle – Phelps-Like Breakouts

Ever wish you could push off the wall like Michael Phelps? Yeah… us, too. But at least we can try to improve on what we’ve got, and get as "close" to the master as we can. Here’s a fun drill you can incorporate into your practices to at least make you FEEL like Mike.

Why Do It:
Learning to use dolphin kicks in your pushoffs can help you maintain a bit more speed, and travel farther before you have to start swimming.

How to Do It:
1. Ok… we’re going to cheat a little bit. Put on your favorite fins.

The rest of this is really a set featuring underwater dolphin kicks.
2. Swim a set of 25s. How many is up to you, but start with the plan of reducing the number of underwater dolphin kicks down to 3 or 4. For example, if you’re swimming twelve 25s, break the set up into 3 sets of 4 x 25’s. Start by doing 7 or 8 dolphin kicks on the first 25.

Then, on each 25 in the set of 4, reduce your dolphin kicks by one. So, 6 on the 2nd 25, 5 on the 3rd 25, and 4 on the 4th 25. Then repeat.

By the time you get to your 4th 25, you should be at 3-4 dolphin kicks. Make these kicks fairly fast, and perform them in a nice, tight, streamline position.

3. Just before you take your first stroke of freestyle, switch from dolphin to flutter kick to prepare for your first stroke of freestyle.

How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
When you transition from dolphins to freestyle swimming, make sure you stay low, and don’t breathe. You’ll have to pay particular attention to the breakout because there’s a potential to stay a bit too deep, and catch your recovering arm on the water as you recover into your first stroke.

Remember this feeling, and do your best to incorporate this dolphin-to-freestyle breakout into each length. You may not go so far or so fast as Michael, but we all have to start someplace.