Freestyle - Open-Water Drafting in a Pool

Dec 6, 2011
Freestyle - Open-Water Drafting in a Pool

So the winter is upon us and it's time to go indoors to practice swimming.  How does a good open-water swimmer or triathlete learn effective skills indoors?

NOTE:  For more ideas on how to practice your open-water and triathlon skills in a pool, pick up a copy of Go Swim Open-Water with Fran Crippen or Go Swim Triathlon Skills with Sara McLarty...available as DVDs, streaming, or as part of our new subscription service.

Why Do It:
Learning how to draft in a pool allows you to really feel the benefits of drafting, as well as locating that perfect spot for your body to be in.

How to Do It:
 .You'll need some friends to swim with, and you should try to partner with people who are about the same speed as you.
2.  We'll show some variations of hip-drafting techniques.  First, the chevron.  The lead swimmer is in the middle, and the drafters will be located on either side trying to stay at the hips of the lead swimmer.
3.  Next we'll try the wedge.  The lead swimmer will be on one side, with each swimmer lined up next to each other at the hips... each just a bit behind the other.
4.  Now try the line.  One swimmer directly behind the other swimmer, in a line.  Try to stay as close as you can to the swimmer in front, without hitting their feet.  It's good to stay close, but bad to make the swmimer in front of you mad.

How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Try passing to help incorporate more training into this practice.  Start with one swimmer at the hips, and then sweep out, and accelerate past the lead swimmer.  The swimmer being passed should then locate move in next to the passer, and draft off of them.

To practice race-day situaions, have all the swimmers leave at the same time in a cramped-lane challenge.  This simulated mass start can teach swimmers how to stay narrow and will get them used to these awkward and scary situations.

To build team bonding, have your entire team push off all at these swimmers at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center.  It's enjoyable, and will have everyone in the group feeling like a part of the team.

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