This week’s drill is an equipment-filled relay that incorporates some speed, some goals, and a little bit of pain.
When we think about the breaststroke pull, and how it connects to the entire body, we start by teaching young swimmers small, quick movements. When they get bigger, older, and stronger, there is a tendency to make that pull larger, slower, focusing on a long glide. While these points are all good, we can’t lose sight of the attack that comes with breaststroke.
Why Do It:
As swimmers get bigger, older, and stronger, there’s a tendency to add more GLIDE to the breaststroke. While gliding is an important part of the stoke, you can’t lose sight of the ATTACK. This relay will encourage you to ATTACK each stroke — by increasing your hand speed and stroke rate. This can ultimately lead to a faster breaststroke overall.
How To Do It:
1. Put on your stuff. This drill uses fins, paddles, and a center-mount snorkel.
2. Set goal times for the swimmers, and REQUIRE that they meet or exceed the goals… or the swim does NOT count. Our set had three swimmers going a 300 relay, with a goal time of 3:45, which meant that each swimmer had to go under 1:15. If they didn’t break 3:45, the swim didn’t count.
3. The drill uses a quick front scull, with head down in a neutral position, and incorporates a dolphin kick.
4. Keep your body near the surface and be FAST with the hands. Try to position the hands in a way that actually MOVES you forward.
5. Flip turns will help you maintain your speed, but make sure you know how to purge the snorkel BEFORE you start, or you’ll end up with water in your mouth and have to stop… NOT something that helps the overall time.
How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Rhythm is KEY to doing this well. If you’re off, or if you use a regular breaststroke pull, your rate will probably be too slow. If you have trouble with water going up your nose when you use the snorkel, put on nose plugs. Keep it INTENSE and FAST, and don’t give in if the swimmers don’t make the time set.
The equipment we like for this drill includes the Zura Alpha Fins, the Finis Center-Mount Snorkel, and the Star Paddles.