• Henry Wright

Three Easy Open Water Drills

In this blog post we explore three essential and easy Open Water drills for you to incorporate into your training swims. These drills can be done as the later part of your warm up, a pre-set, or your main set. If you're going on a longer aerobic swim you can always mix it up by trying these drills at any point.


Swimming Straight Drill

The object of this drill is to swim as straight as possible without changing direction.

  1. Choose a sighting point such as a buoy or landmark in the distance.

  2. Count 30 strokes keeping your head down (no sighting).

  3. See how straight you swam - take note of which direction you may have veered in.

Note that there are a number of reasons that you may veer off to one side or another - it could be that you have a stroke imbalance, or simply the current or tide.

If you find you are majorly off course you can start this drill with 10 strokes first and then when you find yourself staying more on target gradually increase the number of strokes 5 or 6 at a time.

A advanced variation of this drill is to repeat it the same way but keep your eyes closed when not sighting - note that this should only be done in familiar water where there are no obstacles.


Pick It Up Drill

The purpose of this drill is to help prepare you for changing speeds within a race, and helps to keep you focused and engaged on a longer swim.

  1. Do 25 easy strokes, 25 hard strokes.

  2. Followed by 25 easy strokes, 50 hard strokes.

  3. Followed by 25 easy strokes, 75 hard strokes.

  4. Go back down to 25 easy, 50 hard, 25 easy, 25 hard.

You can vary the number of easy and hard strokes by any number, the 25 and 50 is only used as an example. They can be of equal value or more or less depending on your goal and where you are in your training. If swimming with a partner make sure they also know the plan to change speed, and you can take turns drafting each other.


Polo Drill

This is an essential skill that all Open Water swimmers should be able to do for at least a short period of time in case of choppy conditions or any polluted water that you may be unlucky enough to come across.

  1. Choose a sighting point such as a buoy or landmark in the distance.

  2. Swim for 10 to 20 strokes holding your head out of the water and your eyes locked on your target.

This drill will cause your hips and legs to sink so an increase in kick may be necessary to hold your body position in the water. During the polo you want to keep the head still and eyes forward rather than moving your head from side to side.


We hope to see you all practicing these three key skills on the water soon!


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