Day 2: Learning To Swim On Your Side

Learning Objectives: Becoming balanced on your sides & Implementing the high elbow recovery

Day 2 Practice

  • WARM UP:
  • 200 Easy swim
  • DRILL:
  • 4x75s Alternate 25 Shark Fin/25 Swim/25 Shark Fin
  • 4x100s 75 Shark Fin/25 Swim
  • 4x150s 100 Shark Fin/50 Swim
  • 200 Easy Kick/Swim
  • TOTAL:
  • 1400 Yards or Meters

Do this for all sets:

  • Start in the kicking on your side position.
  • Lift your trailing elbow up towards the sky, and drag your hand through the water until it reaches your goggle line (or until you've made a shark fin).
  • Slide the hand back down, roll onto your back, grab some air and repeat.
  • Keep thinking about keeping your eyes looking directly at the pool bottom.
  • *Feel free to add or subtract distance as needed.
  • This drill is the foundation for being able to swim on your side in freestyle. This will tell you how well you’ve mastered balancing on your side in the water, and will allow you to improve your freestyle even more.
  • When doing this drill, you may start sinking when you get to the shark fin position. This is normal! If you do start sinking, slide your arm immediately back to your side, and roll back up into kicking on your side. If you are a sinker, don’t forget about using fins.

Common Mistakes:

  • Trying to do two or three cycles without taking a breath. Slow down, do one at a time.
  • Being discouraged by sinking. Most people sink right away. The more you can get in the water and practice, the less of a problem this will be.


  • Keep your hand along your side
  • Keep your elbows high
  • Stay on your side


  • Go too fast
  • Forget to take 2 or 3 breaths between cycles
  • Lift your head up
  • Worry about sinking

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…my catch is smoother and there is less strain on my shoulders.

“Hi Kevin, I just wanted to thank you and your staff for your helpful insights, my swimming is progressing. My elbows are higher than before, my catch is smoother and there is less strain on my shoulders. I’m very pleased with the ease of efficiency due to dedication to the prescribed drills in the course. The shark fin drill has especially contributed to my muscle memory of entering the water closer to my goggle line and a better extension/glide afterwards, thanks!!”
– Patty Topper