Freestyle - Connection Variation

Jun 22, 2010
Freestyle - Connection Variation

Here's a fun and challenging drill that can help you learn rhythm and develop power for your freestyle.

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- Learn about open water swimming from National Champ Fran Crippen

Why Do It:
Maintaining a consistent rhythm is important for open-water and distance swimming.  Learning how much power to apply to each stroke can mean the difference between going forever, or going fast.  This drill can help with that.

What You'll Need:
We used four tools in this drill:  Finis Tempo Trainer, Finis PT Paddles, the Star Paddles, and large TYR paddles.

How to Do It:
1.  Determine your target rhythm for all the swims. (This can be done during warmup with the Tempo Trainer, or you and your coach should already know your rate.)
2.  Set the Tempo Trainer for your target stroke rate for a set of 8 x 50 or 8 x 100 on an interval that gives you just enough time to change equipment.  
3.  First put on the Finis PT Paddles and swim the first two swims at the set rhythm.
4.  On the next two swims, increase the size of your catch by taking off the PT Paddles and using your hands.
5.  On the next two swims, increase the size of your catch again by putting on the Star Paddles (or a small type of paddle).
6.  For the final two swims, increase the size of your catch again by putting on the large TYR paddles.

How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
As you increase the surface area, you'll notice how good it feels to go from the PT Paddles, to hands, to Star, to TYR.  The power required to maintain the initial rate is greater, and so is the speed.  The goal in mastering this is to have all the times as close as possible.  When you initially do this drill, you'll find you may have a 9- or 10-second difference in your 50 times through the range.  When you learn how to connect with the PT Paddles, or let go with the TYR paddles, that range can shrink to 4 or 5 seconds.

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