My Only Swim Drill!

2017 Jan | By

By Michael Andrew, 2016 World Champion

With 2016 having been a really great year for me in the pool, it’s time to take a look back at some things I did to help my efforts, along with analyzing things that I would like to change. Many of you may already know that I am known in swim circles for never doing any “drills”. The reason for this is that my training is based off of the method known as “Ultra Short Race Pace Training.” The premise behind this method is specificity, and for me to train as close to how I will race or plan on racing.

When you do a drill, although it may aid a certain aspect of your stroke, it will also be harming or neglecting something else, so for me to be most specific and proficient in the water, we avoid doing drills that will change our stroke. In all reality, each of the four individual strokes are a drill on their own.

But there is one exception to this and that is a drill I do to increase the power and efficiency of my underwater kick. The drill I do to increase the power and efficiency of my underwater kick is vertical kicking.

What my dad (coach) and I have noticed from watching me underwater with cameras is that I tend to have a much more powerful down sweep than I do up sweep. So because I am not coming close to matching the power of the down sweep with my up sweep it is clear to us that I need to put emphases on evening out the kick to where I can create force from both directions of the kick and not just the one.

What vertical kicking does is it forces my kick to sweep both ways in order for it to be easier to keep my shoulders out of the water. What we typically do with the vertical kicking drill is to do five or so vertical kick intervals before practice starts. So one interval would be vertical kicking for 15 seconds trying to get in as many sweeps as possible and then treading water and resting for 15 seconds and then repeating that.

Apart from that drill my focus when training is constantly on how I can be the most efficient in the water. The more efficient I am, the faster I will be and the more energy I will save. Something I have learned over a very long period of time is the importance of the details. Like making sure that my kick doesn’t pause before I breakout, crisp turns, finishing hard on every wall, or breathing quickly and getting back into streamline. Although those details aren’t “drills” they are still extremely important aspects of being the fastest you can be and it are those very details that helped me to win my very first World Championship title in Windsor, Canada about a month ago in the 100 IM! I am so excited for 2017 and you should be too, there is no better time than now to focus on the details and become the very best you can be in the pool!

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