Coach Ray’s Top 3 Swimming Drills to Get You Swimming Smooth

I often get asked “What are the best swimming drills to include into my swim sessions?” Although there is no easy answer for that here are my Top 3 swim drills to get you swimming smooth.

For any drill sets I recommend wearing a pair of short fins. These will provide you with a small amount of momentum whilst you are focusing on what the upper body is doing. I recommend Finis Zoomers.

Take your fins off prior to commencing the next set.

These three drills all work on developing a streamlined body position and creating balance when you are on your side and working on the rotation of the body.

Kick On Side

This drill develops you body position and alignment for swimming on your side, as well as setting your arm up for the catch. Use it to enhance your efficiency in the water. Make sure you do it equally on the left side and right side respectively.


A progression of the Kick On Side drill, this drill incorporates the arm stroke and develops bilateral breathing. Ensure you complete the stroke before rolling to get your breath.

Bilateral breathing is important for balancing the stroke out, and when your swim becomes tactical. You can use it to monitor swimmers around you (both in the pool and in open water), and if the wind is coming from one side you can breath on the other in the open water to prevent getting a mouthful of water with any chop that gets whipped up.


Progressing the 6/1/6 drill further by incorporating three strokes prior to taking your breath, to bring the drill closer to full swimming. Keep it relaxed and smooth.

You can find a range of swim workouts many which utilise these drills on my website here. Each Saturday morning I post a number of workouts to allow for a range of abilities.

Although I prescribe and utilise these drills on a regular basis I don’t pretend to have invented them or even popularised them. That honour belongs to Paul Newsome and his team at Swim Smooth, in particular with his book Swim Smooth – The Complete Coaching System for Swimmers and Triathletes, which is definitely worth the read.

If you would like further advice feel free to contact me.

I am the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

I specialise in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. I can be contacted at and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to my informative newsletter.

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Coach Ray is the author of the successful 12 Weeks to an Ironman Swim PB – Swim Faster with Smart Training eBook.



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