Apr 14, 2006

Here� a fun drill to help you prepare for the upcoming triathlon season -- while you're still in the pool.

Why Do It:
Nearly every swimmer is aware that you swim faster and with less work when you position yourself right behind the swimmer in front of you. This is called drafting, and it works the same whether you�re in a pack of cyclists or in a pack of swimmers in a triathlon. The person in front of you breaks the airstream (or water), and his forward motion creates a V-shaped wake that pulls along anything in the �V.� The pull is strongest right at the tip of the �V,� but there is a drafting effect at the sides of the �V� as well. If you are a triathlete or open-water swimmer, and you learn how to swim alongside someone � right at their hip or at their knee � you can save energy and swim faster. The trick is learning to feel comfortable swimming THAT close to someone else. This drill will help you learn the skill and increase your comfort level.


How To Do It:
1. You need either one or two swimming buddies, preferably the same speed. All three of you line up together in one lane.

2. Swimmer #1 pushes off in the center of the lane. Swimmers #2 and #3 push off almost immediately, one on each side of Swimmer #1.

3. Everyone swims freestyle to the other end. Try to stay in formation, with #2 and #3 swimming right at the hip or knee of #1.

4. Do six to eight 25s, rotating positions on each 25.

5. If you have just two swimmers in a lane, Swimmer #1 pushes off in the center of the lane and swimmer #2 pushes off just a bit later and stays at the hip/knee of #1.

How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
1. In a race, you don�t want to swim so close to another person that you make �em angry. You might end up getting kicked or getting your goggles knocked off. Try to swim close enough for a draft effect, but not so close that you�re making constant contact. One way to make yourself inconspicuous is to try to match armstrokes with the person you�re drafting.

2. Of course, you can also use this drill to practice your race-day offensive tactics�..

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