3 Count Pause: Freestyle

Katie has beautiful technique during this drill. She has a high elbow and her body is rotated almost 90 degrees such that her shoulder is out of the water. Her recovery hand  is close to her body/head and her submerged arm is straight in front of her. Her head is absolutely still. Beautiful body position.

Some teams/swimmers call this drill 3 Count Pause while others (myself included) call it Shark Drill. On this blog, we will refer to it as 3 Count Pause because we have another drill we’ll be calling Shark Drill later. Obviously the name of the drill isn’t what matters. What matters is swimming it as close to perfectly as possible. 3 Count Pause Drill easily translates between strokes. Today we’ll be focusing on how to swim it during Freestyle.

To swim 3 Count Pause: Freestyle

  1. At the apex of your freestyle recovery, pause both arms.
  2. The recovering arm will be bent with a high elbow with the hand near or touching the head. The submerged arm will be fully extended.
  3. Your body should be fully rotated and your head should remain still.
  4. Continue to kick a normal flutter kick while you count to three slowly.
  5. When you have reached the count of three, resume your stroke cycle until pausing at the apex of the opposite arm’s recovery.

Things to think about:

  1. Allow your body to rotate around your head.
  2. The recovering shoulder should be dry.
  3. Keep your fingers relaxed during the recovery. They should be very near or touching your head.
  4. Count to three slowly. It is easy to do the drill too fast when you’re in the water.
  5. Focus on having a steady flutter kick, but don’t count your kicks.
  6. Keep your rotation even on both sides.
  7. Keep your head still.
  8. Try not to breathe while paused.
  9. Try to transition smoothly between swimming and pausing.
  10. It is okay to wear fins during this drill, but try not to rely on them.

Categories: Drills, Freestyle, Freestyle Drills

Tags: , , , , , ,

5 replies

  1. I was introduced to this method during a training ocean swim this Summer. It saved me because not being able to use my legs (because of dystonia & stuff) it makes my stroke so much more efficient! Thanks for sharing – always looking for new drills. Swimming literally saved my life and I Love Swimming! Looking forward to following your blog!!

  2. I had the same problem as the person with the question. I did a TNT Triathlon last year and my coach last year walked along the edge of the pool when I would breathe, but he would be about 10 yards behind me. He would say, look at me with just one eyeball out of the water when you breathe. Made a HUGE difference in my stroke. Still working on the recovery, thanks for a great drill!

    • I really like how your coach helped you with that! Its amazing how the way something is presented to us can help us understand the issue and then make such big changes. What are you issues with the recovery?

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