We do drills at every swim practice.

When Coach Charles is saying “catch up” – that’s a drill.

“you’re going to do 4 75’s – first 25 drill and the rest freestyle.”

But why do we do all those drills?  It’s not just for something to do in the water other than freestyle.

These drills all have a special focus that’s supposed to make our swimming better.  So here’s some details on why these drills are part of our regular workout schedule:

Catch Up:

  The Water Blogged Triathlete says this about the catch up drill:  Catch Up Drill is a swimming staple for many reasons. It allows the athlete to work on the timing of their breath, a good rotation, and a steady kick. It isolates each arm but allows newer athletes to balance their stroke with less difficulty than they’d have with the opposite arm glued to their side. Catch Up Drill can help correct a short hand entry by forcing the athlete to extend their recovering arm further in an effort to touch their opposite hand.

DPS – Distance Per Stroke

To put it simply, “DPS is where you exaggerate your stroke to consciously lengthen it. If you do it often enough and correctly, then your regular stroke will also lengthen.”  Triathlon Magazine says this, “The key to increasing your speed by improving your distance per stroke is to ensure that you cover more distance in the same amount of time. It is of little use to cover more distance per stroke but to take more time in doing so.”

Triple Tap

This is where Coach Charles has us work through our recovery by touching three parts of our body:  the hip, the shoulder, and the head. Swimming World Magazine says this about the Triple Tap:  With each freestyle stroke, swimmers will tap each of these three points with their hand during their recovery. This forces swimmers to keep their recovery relaxed with a high elbow. It is impossible to get to any of these three points with a forced recovery or a straight arm. Rather, this drill is meant to practice bringing their arm back to the front of their stroke with as little effort as possible while also reminding them to be mindful of their body position and to use their core and kick at all points in their stroke.


We all have a good laugh about this drill, but it does really help catch efficiency in all strokes.  According to Swimming World Magazine, again, “The drill is exactly as it sounds: for a portion of a length of swimming, your athletes will pull through the water with closed fists. Taking away their hands, swimmers will be raise awareness to how they are using their forearms through the catch phase of their pull as well as to how much “feel” they do get from having their hands initiate contact with the water.”

So – now you know a little bit more about these drills.  But you can still give Coach Charles a hard time about them 

Spencer Allen