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Rock’n’roll – swim drills to improve rotation

Using pull buoy to work on swim technique

When talking about rotation in swimming, we are talking about the swimmer’s ability to rotate around your own mid axis. The rotation will greatly help you to utilize your mobility and putting yourself in as strong a position as possible

When rotating, your neck should be relaxed and neutral. So that you are always looking down towards the bottom of the pool.

This will help you be more streamlined and thus, create less frontal drag.

The benefits of your rotation

  1. Easier

    Your body rotation will make it easier, both for you getting a great catch and for your recovery phase.

  2. Powerful

    When you rotate, it will be much easier to utilize all of your muscles that will help pull you forward!

  3. Longer

    The rotation helps you to reach further during your catch, meaning that you will travel further for each stroke, with less energy spent!

6 steps to becoming a faster and more efficient swimmer

We have chosen to sort the freestyle stroke into six separate segments. In all featured articles, you will both be able to read about that part of the stroke and watch our videos on different swim drills that will improve your skillset in that area.

  • The Catch – The part of your stroke from when your hand enters the water, up until you are able to start pulling yourself forward.
  • The Pull – This part starts where the catch ends, and continues until the hand exits the water.
  • The Recovery – It is the part of the stroke that occurs above the surface.
  • The Kick – Kicking in swimming is not the biggest power output, but, it is crucial for water position and reducing frontal drag.
  • The Rotation – The way you rock your body from side to side to create your optimal streamlined position and best power output.
  • The Head position – How you hold your head, and where you look will greatly impact your position in the water.

Doing drills from these six areas will improve your swimming.

Improve your rotation with these swim drills

Rotating while swimming is a way to utilize your mobility to gain strength and travel further per stroke. Thus being more efficient.

Swimming with a pull buoy

How to:
Using a pull buoy is a great way to learn how to rotate your body as a whole.
Place the pull buoy between your legs, and gently squeeze

Focus on:
Rotate your body as one unit.
Your rotation drives from the hips and core, not your shoulders.

Good for:
Focus on your stroke.
Body rotation.
Letting your legs rest.

6-3-6 drill

How to:
Starting on your side with one arm forward, the other resting along your side.
Do six kicks on the side, on the sixth kick:
Roll over to do three strokes, on the third stroke, roll over to your side:
Do six kicks.

Focus on:
Driving your body rotation from the hip.
Do a quick roll from side to side.

Good for:
Body rotation.
Kicking efficiency.
Body control.

Rotation timing

How to:
Put on one of your fins and one of your paddles. Have them diagonally.
Swim freestyle as you would without gear on.
Get a feel for the timing of the kick and the catch.

Focus on:
Finding the timing of your hand and kick.

Good for:
Understanding how your body moves through the water.


How to:
Start your freestyle stroke with both your arms alongside your body.
Start your next stroke when your arms have completed a “reverse catch up”.
Don’t be afraid to use your rotation.

Focus on:
Rotation, feeling how your body rotates around your centerline.
Be fast in your recovery, so do not stop yourself before the next stroke.

Good for:
A feel for how your body moves forward in the water.