Freestyle Finishing Drill

Freestyle Finishing Drill is a great drill to work on elongating your stroke and help you focus on finishing your underwater work at the hips. This drill can be done with both Freestyle and Butterfly, but in this post we are going to focus on Freestyle.


A lot of triathletes need to focus on elongating their strokes, and this drill is a great way to help them do it. Notice how Katie is really exaggerating the hand movement at the end of her underwater work. By trying to splash the ceiling, she’s exited just at (or beyond) her hip, but she allows her hand to swing as far out of the water as it wants to before bending at the elbow and going into a normal Freestyle recovery. Her opposite arm remains in front of her head until she’s recovered about 3/4 of the way.

To swim Freestyle Finishing Drill

  1. To do this drill correctly, you will try to exaggerate part of your normal Freestyle stroke: the finish.
  2. As your hand exits the water at your hips, flick your hand and try to splash water at the ceiling. By focusing on splashing the ceiling, you may be able to trick yourself into finishing a few inches beyond where you normally do.
  3. If you hands have a lot of momentum, allow them to swing as high as they want to swing before going into your recovery.
  4. Your opposite arm should remain straight in front of your head until the recovering arm catches up (about 3/4 of the way).
  5. Breathe normally.

Things to think about:

  1. Really over exaggerate the hand flick at the end. Have fun extending your stroke. It is okay to over rotate during this drill, if it helps you extend your finish.
  2. Once you have finished the flicking movement, transition into a normal recovery. Everything besides the finish should be normal during this drill.
  3. Next time you swim Freestyle, try to finish at your hips without flicking any water toward the ceiling.
  4. You may wear fins during this drill. It is also a fun one to do with a snorkel.
Freestyle Finishing Drill Breath

In the above photo, you can see how low Katie keeps her head during the breath. She’s fully rotated, and her finish has been very exaggerated. However, the rest of her stroke is just like regular Freestyle. At this point, all she needs to do is bend her arm at the elbow and recover as she normally would.

Categories: Drills, Freestyle Drills

Tags: , , ,

7 replies

  1. Great drill! It’s significantly improved my freestyle stroke and distance per stroke!.

  2. this is a great great drill….I can create quite the sprinkler system when “on task”…it’s 1 of those invaluable drills….whenever I find I’m failing to hit my thighs in recovery I go back to a few laps of this and all is resolved

    • lol, I can imagine quite the sprinkler system – too bad we can’t use it to help the lawn! I agree with you, definitely an invaluable drill. It is so nice to see that people are both aware of it’s existence and already using it to help their stroke length improve!


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