Dan Bullock, Head Coach at Swim for Tri takes us out of the water this week to look at someone else swimming. Watch, learn and then go do it yourself! This video shows a swimmer doing what we call the Torpedo Drill. This is an excellent drill as it allows swimmers to focus on their full body rotation and kick without having to worry about the timing and execution of the pull and recovery phase of the arms.
Turning on a spit
The first half of the clip shows the drill being performed with the swimmer’s head in the water, eyes focused on the bottom of the pool, and no head movement other than when the swimmer rotates to breathe. Notice how the only body movement is coming from the rotation around the long axis, as if the swimmer is on a spit, rolling fully from shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip. The arms remain by the swimmer’s side, staying relaxed and loose.
While watching the kick, the most important thing to focus on is the fact that as the body rotates from side to side, the width, depth and frequency of the kicking does not change. As we are ideally trying to spend the bulk of our time swimming on our side, (rotating from one side to the other with the pause coming as the body is fully extended), it is very important to be able to maintain a light steady kick as the body goes through its rotation. Any fluctuations in the kick will result in a poor body position and excess lateral movements that will create more drag and slow us down.
The second half of the clip shows the same drill being performed with the swimmer’s eyes looking directly into the sky/roof. This variation of the drill benefits the same aspects of the stroke, (rotation, kick, head position), but now allows the swimmer to not have the extra burden of having to rotate the head to breathe. This allows the focus to stay on rotating the body from side to side and keeping the head perfectly still while the kick stays smooth and steady, in line with the rest of the body.