A Good Beginning Swim Practice

I have written this workout for a fellow blogger who is developing his swimming skills. He is currently working on lengthening his stroke and side breathing. I thought I’d give him something more tailored to his individual training needs as an alternative to a set of 10 x 50s free he found in a book. The only caveat is that he can only swim for a half hour at a time. Eventually he’ll be competing in Olympic Distance and Half Ironman Triathlons but for now we’re going to focus on some basics in the pool that will help him with his specific goals:

Warm Up:

4 x 25s Zipper Drill*

Main Set:

With Fins: 1 x 100 Flutter Kick on Side, alternating Right/ Left by 25.

When you breathe, focus on just lifting your head enough to get air and try to keep your ear glued to your shoulder.

No Fins: 2 x 50s Freestyle Breathing Every 3.

I want you to think about keeping your head low when you breath to BOTH sides. Try to keep the feeling you had when you were breathing while flutter kicking on your side while you are swimming these 50s.

With Hand Paddles: 4 x 25s focusing on your hand entry and exit.

If you enter the water funny or exit too soon, the paddles will let you know. Most pools have hand paddles available for lap swimmers. You will not be able to get away with short strokes while wearing paddles.

No Hand Paddles: 4 x 25s Freestyle DPS (Distance Per Stroke).

Keep the long feeling you learned with the paddles during these 25s. Count your strokes on each 25. If you feel like you want to make it a game or need an extra challenge, try to take 1 less stroke by 25.

Warm Down:

1 x 50 practicing breathing side/ side/ front as needed.

Total: 550 yds

*To swim Zipper Drill Freestyle: I want you to touch your thumb to your thigh as you exit the water. During the recovery, drag your thumb along your body (never losing contact and as if pulling a zipper along your side) until passing your shoulder. Once you pass your shoulder, allow your fingertips to drag along the water’s surface along the line your body established (as if still pulling that zipper). Once your hand is fully extended to the point where it naturally rests on the water’s surface, you can begin your underwater pull. This drill focuses on long strokes and a high elbow during recovery and keeps your recovering hand close to your body. Breath as needed.

I have not included any intervals or speed drills in this workout because I’m trying to build some skills first. If the athlete has time left over after finishing this swim, I want him to work on floating and pressing his T in the shallow end. Once he has a better handle on technique, we’re going to work on building endurance.

Categories: Swim Practice

Tags: , , , , , ,

7 replies

  1. Ahhhhhhh…….. You r speaking to my heart!!

  2. You’re amazing! Thank you much! I’ll let you know how it goes.

    • Thanks, and you’re welcome! Feel free to adjust it as needed and if there are problem areas I can give you other ideas to try.

    • I made an update – I meant to write zipper drill initially but I wrote finger tip drag instead. Zipper drill is the one where you’re making contact with your body as your recover. To do finger tip drag, just drag your hands along the surface near your body. You can play around with the depth you drag your hands at when you do finger tip drag. Both zipper drill and finger tip drag are good drills for you.

  3. Reblogged this on The Water Blogged Triathlete and commented:

    I was just left the nicest comment regarding a workout I wrote awhile ago for Trevor at 5 am fitness. He asked that I share a workout I wrote for him again because it has helped him so much. His comment literally has made my day and I’m hoping that this practice can help someone else as much as it has helped him!

    “Hi, I wanted to nominate yourselves for one of the workouts that you created for me a while back. The practice has proven invaluable and has built real long term good technique. I recently took a month off from swimming, but thanks to your practice, when I got back in the pool it was like I never took a break. The practice has helped me elongate my stroke, build confidence, learn to be more buoyant, and generally relax while swimming. I’ve been able to more than double my mileage since using this practice. It’s been great for me and I think you should share it with everyone again.

    Thanks for the great help!”


  1. A Good Beginning Swim Practice | Flatlander Tri Coaching

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