A Session To Focus On Your Stroke Technique Whilst Breathing

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Urgent: SS Perth swimmer (and all round inspiration) Sue Oldham is looking to extend her English Channel Age World Record next week and is urgently looking for some additional support crew for the attempt.

If you are an experienced marathon swimmer or support crew and can get down to Dover to help, please contact Paul Newsome here.

Here's a brilliant technique session that uses a range of drills and techniques to help you improve your stroke technique whilst you are breathing - in particular what your lead arm is doing.

Many intermediate and advanced level swimmers have pretty good stroke technique on a normal stroke but when they breathe significant flaws appear:

straight arm push down
crossover in front of the head
scissor kick and crossover
over-rotation and scissor kick

Even if you are unaware of any flaws in your stroke whilst you breathe, try this session and see how it feels and impacts your stroke. Use the breathing patterns below even if you are a strong single sided breather - you are likely to be surprised at what you discover by doing so (as was Pro Triathlete Joel Jameson)!

Stroke Technique Whilst Breathing


500m continuous freestyle as:
100m breathing every 3 strokes
100m breathing every 2 strokes to your least favourite side
100m breathing every 5 strokes
100m breathing every 2 strokes to your least favourite side
100m breathing every 3 strokes

5x 100m with Pull Buoy as: 12½m Scull #1, 12½m Doggy Paddle, 75m freestyle good tempo breathing every 5 strokes.

Main Set

8x 50m with fins as:
25m Unco (right arm breathe left)  + 25m freestyle
25m Unco (left arm breathe right) + 25m freestyle

4x 100 freestyle with pull buoy and paddle on one hand only:
Numbers 1 + 3 Paddle on right hand breathing left
Numbers 2 + 4: Paddle on left hand breathing right

400m continuous freestyle as:
100m breathing every 4 strokes to right
100m breathing every 4 strokes to left
100m breathing every 2 strokes to right
100m breathing every 2 strokes to left


2, 3 or 4x 200m as:
1) Fins as 50m Broken Arrow Drill + 50m Freestyle with loose shoulders!
2) Normal freestyle, breathe as you wish
3) Pull Buoy and Paddles, breathe every 5 or 7 strokes
4) Normal freestyle, breathe as you wish

The session on the SS Perth Squad Board

We recommend Finis Freestyler Paddles for use in this session as their unique design gives you feedback on your lead hand's alignment whilst swimming.

If you are unfamiliar with any of the Swim Smooth drills above you can see them on our Stroke Technique DVDs. Also see Scull #1 here and Unco here.

Swim Smooth!


shmileblik said...

Thanks for this technique session. I've received the newsletter at the right moment for tonight training!
For the lastly part, I just wonder if you mean that we have to swim 4x200m for each set (800m for 1 , 2, 3 and 4) or 200m for each set. Thanks again, you can't imagine how your blog and your book help to improve my so bad freestyle!

Unknown said...

HI Shmileblik,

You're welcome- we're pretty sure you'll enjoy this one! For the last set choose how many of the 1,2 3 or 4 x 200s you want to do, using the specified swim for each, hope that makes sense! Happy swimming!

shmileblik said...

Thanks a lot Hannah!
I'm stupid, it was obvious!
I'll choose 2 or 3x200's for tonight session :)

Alex said...

Hi, any idea regarding the recovery timing between sets/drills?
Would appreciate your suggestions!

Unknown said...

Hi Alex,

10-15 seconds should be sufficient!

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