swimming drills for triathlon

Top 4 Swimming Drills for Triathlon

Posted admin Newsletters

If you’re just starting on your swimming journey, it’s the perfect time to practice swimming drills for triathlon training.

If you’re in mid-season, swimming drills are still important, to maintain what you’ve built up.

If your season is over, this is still a great time to work on swim drills, since you do not have to worry as much about keeping up your swim distance for races for a while.

In this article, I am giving you 4 important swimming drills for triathlon you can work on, as well as a fun and interesting workout!

4 Triathlon Swimming Drills For Any Time Of The Year

1. Vertical Kick. This is typically how we start most of our beginner swimmers, and even some of the intermediate-level ones. Here’s how its done:

First, find deep enough water so you can’t touch the bottom.

Let go of the wall as if you are going to tread water. Fold your arms. Kick in place and keep your chin above the water. Start with 15 seconds of kicking at a time, and focus on:

1. Kicking from your hips
2. Minimizing knee bend
3. Keeping your body straight from head to toe (no leaning over)

Do a few rounds of vertical kicking, and then “fall” onto your back, so your brain connects proper kicking in a horizontal position

2. Kick WITHOUT a kick board, On your side.

Kick with your hips and shoulders rotated to the side, keeping your head still while looking at the bottom of the pool.

Extend the arm closest to the bottom of the pool straight out in front and hold your other arm against the side of your body.

When you need air, rotate on to your back, take a few good breaths, and then return to the kicking position.

Do the odd numbered lengths on the right side and the even numbered lengths on the left. This improves balance in the water and with practice, will improve your kick.

Also, stretch your ankles- ankle inflexibility is the #1 reason for a weak kick!

Here’s a video with these first two drills:

3. One-Armed Freestyle.

For one-arm free, do a full stroke with one arm, and keep your other arm at your side. Breathe on the opposite side of the arm that is working. Make sure you do the full rotation with your hips, as if you were swimming with both arms.

This drill will definitely feel awkward! The balance drills you worked on previously will help (I wouldn’t recommend this drill if you are just starting out- save it for when you attain a good feel for the water and have improved your balance)

4. 3/4 Catchup Drill.

Many coaches will have you doing Catchup Drill- touching your hands out in front in freestyle with each stroke. The problem with this is that it keeps you on your stomach too long, when you want to be rotating from one side to the other. 3/4 Catchup means as you slice one hand into the water, start your pull with the other hand. It’s “almost” catchup. This helps with balance and rotation.


A good workout touching on several important parts of open water swim training:

Warm Up:

300 Yards or Meters, every 4th length non-freestyle Drills
6 x 150
ODDS: Free: 50 kick (on your side) / 25 swim / 50 drill / 25 swim
EVENS: Freestyle swim, build by 50
• Rest=:10 btw each 150


9 x 200
• Freestyle swim:
#1: Sprint and Sight on odd 25’s; on cruise – :10 or Rest=:05
#2: Steady effort on cruise + :10 or Rest=:20
#3: Steady effort on cruise + :05 or Rest=:15
#4: Steady effort on cruise or Rest=:10
#5: FAST, on cruise – :10 or Rest=:05
#6: Steady effort on cruise + :10 or Rest=:20
#7: Steady effort on cruise + :05 or Rest=:15
#8: Steady effort on cruise or Rest=:10
#9: FAST to the finish, on cruise – :10 or Rest=:05
Technique Focus
12 x 25
• Freestyle:
#1,2: Easy
#3,4: 4-kick drill (4 kicks for each stroke)
#5,6: 3/4 Catchup Drill (as described above)
#7,8: Swim, breath every 3rd stroke
#9,10: Swim, breath 2 to the R/2 to the L (2R2L)
#11,12: Swim, breath 3 to the R/3 to the L (3R3L)
• Pick your rest


1 x 100 All easy swim or drill
Cruise= interval you can make 100-yard or 100-meter swims on comfortably (:10-:15 after
each swim)