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The recovery phase – swim drills for endurance

The recovery in swimming should be relaxed

The recovery is the part of your stroke that starts when your hand exits the water and ends when your hand re-enters the water. During this phase, you should, well. Recover. That said, you should be relaxed from your shoulder all the way down to your fingertips.

The often forgotten part of your stroke

Nothing you do above the surface of the water will propel you forward. And since that’s the case. You want that part of your stroke to be quick and not create excessive drag.

An easy way to stay relaxed throughout your arm is to think about having a relaxed wrist.

Here are five fantastic drills for creating a great recovery!

Even though these drills look a lot like each other, they differ slightly in their technical difficulties.

Finger drag

How to:
During the recovery of the stroke, drag your fingertips along the surface of the water.
Lead the recovery with your elbow, not your hand.

Focus on:
Feeling that you are dragging your hand on the surface, use your body rotation to get more mobility.

Good for:
A smooth stroke.
Relaxed recovery.
Shoulder mobility.

Zipper

How to:
Imagine that you have a zipper that runs along your whole side of your body.
Imagine closing that zipper during your recovery.

Focus on:
Keep your core tight, and don’t lose balance. Initiate your rotation at the hip, not the shoulder.

Good for:
Efficient recovery.
Body rotation.
Balance.

Thumb in armpit

How to:
During your recovery, when your elbow and hand are in line at your armpit. Put your thumb gently into your armpit before continuing forward.

Focus on:
Rotation will make it easier to place your thumb in your armpit. That body rotation is what we are after. Elbow leads the hand.

Good for:
Relaxed recovery.
Balance.
Shoulder mobility.

Three touch

How to:
During your recovery, take the time to give your bum, shoulder and head a light tap.
Don’t stress it, take your time between every touch.

Focus on:
Being relaxed and don’t tense up during the movement of your arm. That will lead to you losing balance.

Good for:
Getting a relaxed recovery, which gives you smoother and more effortless swimming.

Draw the pig

This is a fun drill that Mikael Rosén taught me at one of his sessions. It is a great drill for working on among other things: balance and mobility.

How to:
During the recovery, stop at the middle and point straight up to the sky or ceiling.
Draw a little pig, and don’t start going forward with your hand before the pig is done.

Focus on:
Think about being tall in the water, and keeping your balance, while you are rotated when drawing the pig.

Good for:
Body balance and streamline.
Mobility in the shoulders.
Relaxing the arms.

Five steps to becoming a faster and more efficient swimmer

We have chosen to sort the freestyle stroke into five 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.

Doing drills from these five areas will improve your swimming.