It makes no difference whether you breathe every other stroke, every third stroke, or if you are a sprinter and you breathe less frequently. If you swim you must breathe. Popeye Breathing, a drill sent to us by David Kaufman, teaches you to breathe seamlessly and to minimize drag. David swims with the Aquafit Masters of Long Island, at the Nassau County Aquatic Center in East Meadow, NY.

One of the most common stroke problems in freestyle is falling out of balance — or out of the extended glide position — during the breath. Here’s a drill that will help you maintain balance and forward momentum during the breath.

Two of the most common problems for young swimmers are dropping the elbow in freestyle and initiating the pull with the arm positioned too straight.

For years coaches have punished swimmers with ‘no breathers’, repeat 25’s without taking a breath. These lengths have been slow, fast, butterfly, freestyle, underwater…

The use of our hands in swimming is something people may overlook just a bit. While everyone thinks about them, holding on to the water as far out front as possible, we tend to allow them to do whatever they want to, trusting they’re leading us in the right direction.

Why Do It:
Single-Arm Freestyle helps you work on several aspects of a powerful freestyle: great ROTATION; maintaining a balanced body position with EYES DOWN; REACHING FULL EXTENSION on every stroke; and keeping elbows high and wrists straight during the pull.

Last week’s drill of the week was about timing the kick in freestyle. It generated a lot of discussion — and questions about WHEN to place the power kick so that it has the most effect. One reader mentioned a good drill — Freestyle Arms with Dolphin Kick — to teach the correct timing, so we thought it would be a good idea to make this an official drill of the week.

In teaching freestyle, especially the ‘high elbow’ part of the pull, we sometimes tell swimmers to lead with their fingers pointed down. This is supposed to make sure that allow the hand to drop below the elbow, and then create a nice ledge to develop a proper pull from.