Swim Faster: 4 Freestyle Drills to Try

Improving your swim speed isn’t simply a result of having the best swimming gear on the market. It’s also about technique. As you practice and train, certain freestyle drills can help you gradually improve your technique, thereby increasing your speed in the water. But how do you know what drills to use to target your goal of faster swimming?

Whether you’re a beginner swimmer or more advanced, certain freestyle drills can help you swim faster. Add the below drills to persistence, patience, and a positive attitude, and you’ll be increasing your speed in no time.

Freestyle Drills for Faster Swimming

Drill #1: Slow Swimming

This one sounds a bit contradictory, but it works. Instead of practicing swimming as fast as you can, try swimming as slowly as you can. This forces you to pay closer attention to your form and technique. It’s a fantastic freestyle drill to try when or if your form starts to feel sloppy.

If you find yourself with the urge to speed up, slow it back down. Focus on creating a slow, even stroke tempo. Pay attention to your pulling motion, trying hard to make it clean and powerful. This helps increase your stroke awareness.

To take it up a notch, incorporate some fins and paddles while still concentrating on a slow tempo. Think about every single movement you’re making.

Drill #2: Fist Drill

A popular, fundamental freestyle drill for improving swim technique and speed is the fist drill. Ball your hands into fists, or hold a tennis ball or whiffle ball in each hand. Swim with your fists closed (or around the balls) — this allows you to better feel the connection with your forearm. It also forces your arms to take some of the burden from your hands by pulling more water themselves.

The next time you swim with open hands, they will feel bigger and more powerful, while hopefully pulling you through the water faster.

Drill #3: Slow Single-Arm Freestyle

If you want to work on increasing speed as well as other areas of your swim stroke, this is the drill for you. It’s a classic drill that many swimmers learn from the start.

First, drop one arm to your side, using only your opposite arm to pull. Swim slowly as if you are using your dropped arm while rotating from side to side. Only breathe on the side with the dropped arm. This exercise forces you to engage the core and works the trunk muscles more than the arms.

Drill #4: Catch-Up Freestyle

Another classic freestyle drill, the catch-up freestyle zones in on the proper mechanics of swimming. It involves flutter kicking and isolated arm movement, with both arms extended. This foundational drill also helps prevent or correct hand-entry crossover. When it comes to speed, the catch-up freestyle drill works by helping you focus on increasing your distance per stroke.

Swim faster freestyle drills are designed to help you improve multiple areas of your swimming technique, which in turn helps you become speedier in the water. Play with the variety, cadence, and quantity of drills you use to not only improve your form, but also increase your speed. Then test your speed with our swimming pace clocks. You’ll be a faster swimmer in no time.

Swimming Lane Lines from Competitor Swim

Competitor Swim® understands the importance of following FINA guidelines for competition swimming. All of our lane lines are custom built by hand with pride, passion, and expertise. Every Competitor Swim® Racing Lanes is manufactured and assembled in the USA and customized for your specific needs. Contact us to learn more.