If you’re a very stroke-specific swimmer, like a 200 breaststroker, you’re still going to spend most of your time swimming freestyle. With that in mind, sometimes thinking specifically like a breaststroker while swimming freestyle is a good thing.
Why Do It:
Many motions in swimming can be used in multiple strokes. Small variations during some moves can help you identify what muscles you should be using on those other strokes.
How to Do It:
1. First, this is something I’m personally working on… high-wide-hands in breaststroke. Swimming slow breaststroke and setting the hands up above the head, and outside the shoulders is the goal.
2. Since most swimming is done freestyle, the idea was to feel those wide-high-hands while swimming freestyle.
3. During the extension in freestyle, send the hand OUT slightly prior to initiating the catch.
4. Since you’re rotated to one side on freestyle, the alignment of the arm and lats is very similar to how it would be on breaststroke… only one arm at a time.
5. Feel the connection all the way from the hand, through the lats, and into your back on each stroke.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
If you’re having a tough time feeling this, give yourself a bit more surface to press on. Put on some paddles and leverage or press a bit during the outsweep to really feel that connection. Remember, this is a breaststroke drill done during a freestyle set… this isn’t how to swim freestyle. If you’re a stroke-specific swimmer, and that stroke isn’t freestyle, you may always have to THINK like you’re swimming that stroke… even when you’re not.