~The Advanced Swimmer~

Like any other sport, swimming takes practice. A common
way to practice strokes is by performing drills that work
on specific parts of the stroke which are critical for success
in the pool.

Best Drills for Freestyle and Backstroke

According to Patrick Faulk, former competitive swimmer and coach,
the best drill for freestyle and backstroke is the 6 kicks and change Photo by Laura Kubitz
drill. In this drill, keep one arm above your head and the other
by your side. Complete six kicks and then rotate to the other side
by doing an armstroke. This drills will help work on hip and shoulder
rotations, maintain a steady kick and work on correcting arm stroke
positions.

According Andre Thomas, swim lesson instructor and member of UF's
Underwater Hockey Team, the best drill for practicing backstroke
and freestyle is to simply count your strokes that you complete
during each length of the pool that you swim. This helps you
focus on utilizing each arm stroke. It is especcially important
to work on the power phase of the stroke, which is the last bit
of pull before the arm comes out of the water at the end of a
of a stroke cycle.

Additional Drills for Freestyle and Backstroke

An additional drill that can help with freestyle is called the
fingertip drag. To perform this drill, when doing freestyle, Photo by Laura Kubitz
simply slide your fingers all the way up the side of the body
when the arm is in the recovery phase(when the arm is not
pulling underwater) of the arm stroke. This drill helps
to extend the reach of your armstroke so that you get the
most power out of your stroke.

An additional drill that can help with backstroke is thumb-out,
pinky-in drill. To perform this drill, when your hand first comes
out of the water during the backstroke arm stroke, make sure your
thumb is breaking the surface first. When your arm goes back
into the water, make sure your pinky is the first thing to submerge.
This drill helps correct the arm positioning, which helps utilize
the power behind the armstroke.