Improve Your Kick and Distance Per Stroke with Catch-Up Drill

Michael Butler
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Why Catch-Up Drill is so Effective

Increase your freestyle stroke rate, catching the water on the top of your hand with the palm facing forward. Swim six strokes at your normal pace, then stop and count the strokes for one length of a 25-meter pool. Repeat for four more lengths. That’s one full set.

When you’re feeling comfortable with this drill, you can increase the number of lengths from four to eight. Next, increase the number of sets of six-count to four and the number of sets of eight-count to two. When you’ve mastered this drill, try increasing the number of six-step sets to four and the number of eight-ball sets to two.

For an even greater challenge, add six- and eight-count practices to your warmups and cool downs. If you increase your speed during the eight-count portions, you’ll improve your catch-up timing and speed.

More Freestyle Awesomeness:

The Catch-Up Drill is a technique for freestyle swimming developed by Dave Parmenter.

More specifically, it’s a drill meant to help you develop greater kicking power, better body line, and improved catch position.

In this drill, you swim freestyle in a fast kicking motion with your hands under your thighs. The arm action is straight reaching with the elbows bent.

Don’t be surprised if, at first, you feel a bit off balance since you’re swimming with your arms fully extended and your legs high. But don’t worry, this is a common reaction.

You’ll want to try to maintain this position for multiple lengths without moving your hands. Once you’re able to maintain this position for several lengths with little adjustment, you’ll start to get the feel for the drill and experience the benefits.

If you’re newer to swimming, reach with your arms as long as you can, then extend and catch the water with your legs. If you’re more experienced, reach with your arms as long as you can, then extend, move your hands right under your waist and then catch the water with your legs as they’re moving forward.