Swim drill goals?

What are the goals of the different TR swim drills?
I use the TR swim workouts for my triathlon training and i’m not so sure for what the drills are beneficial.
Does anyone have a good destription or some good videos?

For triathlon-specific swim drills I don’t think you can beat the Swim Smooth site:

HD videos and a good explanation of each drill.

You need to be a member of their Guru site to view the videos, but it only costs £1.99 for the month.

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Swim technique. Swim technique makes such a huge difference in swim speed and effort, an out of shape swimmer who has established good technique will glide past a very fit athlete who doesn’t. And a fit athlete with good technique… well, they’re the ones who get out of the swim leg at the front feeling like they haven’t even started racing.

Maybe i didn’t formulated my question enaugh precisely.
I understand that swiming technique is very importent.
What i’m looking for is a good description of the drills with a clear goal of them, so i know on what i have to look during the drills.
At the moment i just do the TR swim drills with out a clue on what specific part i have to concentrate me.
Thank you for all your replies

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Ah, sorry for my confusion.

Hopefully the purpose of the different kick drills is obvious, as well as the sighting and bilateral breathing drills.

Catch up, half catch up, and single arm drills give you chance to work on synchronizing your breath / stroke rhythm, focus on one arm at a time, and position your arm before the catch. They also help you get used to having a streamlined body, particularly how the forward arm flows into the rest of the body.

Fingertips and thumbs is really two drills… fingertips helps you develop a higher elbow recovery (while keeping the hand low), and thumbs is all about developing a full stroke and not stopping your stroke early.

Fists helps you develop a catch and stroke with your whole forearm, “early vertical forearm” or “high elbow” catch.

The sculling drills help you develop a “feel” for the water and your drag in it.

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I’m wondering if there’s a decoder somewhere?
F drills?
CU drills = catch up

but I’d like some specific examples of them as well…
If anyone knows of the link for abbreviations & drills outlined, I’d appreciate it.

@Maki_NarusawaTrotter - explanations in the link below.


Thank you!

I want to thank you for your good tip.
My CSS has dropped from something around 1:56 to 1:44 and i’m very happy with that.

For everyone who is not an experienced swimmer, i realy recomend these drills and their swimming plans. I switched the trainer road swimming sessions with those from swimsmooth and i’m happy with that. I finde the swimming sessions from swimsmooth additionally more fun, becaus it hase more variety.


I’d add Speedo’s blog, https://on.speedo.com/blog, and their free swim tracking (think Strava except aimed at swimming and free), https://on.speedo.com/dashboard.

For example, https://on.speedo.com/blog/drills/four-swimming-drills-to-enliven-your-time-in-the-pool
The drills have clear explanation and videos.

I’m glad you’ve found it useful. Awesome gains you’ve had there :clap::+1: Out of curiosity, how often per week have you been swimming to see improvements like those?

I’d also highly recommend a video analysis session with a Swim Smooth certified coach, if you’ve got any near you. I had one back in Nov and I’d say it’s the best thing I’ve done for my swimming.

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I have not looked at the TR swim drills, but I strongly suggest, if you have not, to have a browse through Swimsmooth and its various drills. They (and a swim smooth coach and video analysis) got me from not swimming for 12 years, to doing a decent 10km swim inside 6-7 months. The swimsmooth drills are excellent and well explained, and their purpose is clearly set out.

I’ve been swimming mostly 3 times a week.

Sadly i have no Swimsmooth coach in my area. But i have the option to go to a video analysis session at my university this summer.

The issue I have with standard drills is that you really need to know what your flaws are for drills to be relevant…and I think that only comes from external analysis - be that by coach or by video.

Also, the vast majority of triathletes (see our recent poll in the IM thread) don’t prioritise the swim, and unless you’re swimming a lot drills just sap pool time. With only say two hours a week in the pool, unless you have an awful stroke, you just need to get the volume in, keep the feel for the water and build swim fitness.

Perhaps that’s contentious, but that’s why I don’t do drills.

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As a Triathlete, I used to say “The swim is what I use to find where I parked my bike”. However (many years later) having started swimsmooth with a plan to do a 10km swim (Just because it as if that is what a proper swimmer would have done), I completely changed my stroke and became quite a different and more effective swimmer.
Even looking at their videos on technique, because they explain why each technique helps and how it helps.

In which part did you find most value in Swim Smooth - the video / drills or the training plan ?

I’m 12 weeks away from my Ironman, and I’m hestitating about doing their training plan (which runs for 11 weeks)

So paying for the online videos (guru) is worth in your opinion?

I’m now training with the training plan from Swim Smooth and i like them. They are a lot mor fun then the TR sessions. A year a go when i was training with the TR swiming plan, i was swimming only because i had to. Now i’m happy when i can go swimming, because every session is different than the previous.
From the videos i learnd how to do the drills correctly and what i have to look on as i perform them.

When you start your stadard subscription (only the videos) you get one month premium for free. So you can look at the training plans and decied if you want to change or not. I not regret that i switched the TR sessions with the Swim Smooth sessions.

Yes, i think it’s totaly worth it. For the standard subscription it is only 3$ per month and in the first month you get a free premium upgrade with all their plans. And you can watch all their videos in only one month an cancel the subcription at the end.
This is a sample video on ther youtube channel about your hand position:

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This. Since my video analysis session I’ve cut my drills down to just 2 drills that focus on my weakness in the catch/pull. Prior to that I was doing a load of drills… some of those, in hindsight, were actually making my stroke worse (catch-up drill etc.). Like you say, if you’re only swimming a couple of times a week, then you’re losing a lot of time if the drills aren’t targeting your weaknesses.

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Thx… What’s an extra few dollars to make sure my dollars spent in then pool are worth it!