Whether you are just getting started with swimming or you’ve been swimming for years, working on improving your stroke technique is one of the most important things you can do.

Focusing on technique drills helps you swim faster, get a better workout, burn more calories, reduce your chance of injury, and of course have more fun in the water!

These 5 swimming drills are perfect for advanced swimmers:

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Related: 5 Crazy Unique Freestyle Drills

What is a swimming drill?

A drill is an exercise done specifically to help your swimming technique. It’s usually a modified version of one of the four competitive strokes like Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, or Freestyle. A drill is designed to help you focus on a specific part of the technique, like your arm position, kicking, or breathing.

Remember water is 800x more dense than air so because you’re moving through a medium of water that has a lot of resistance, any improvement in stroke technique can have a big impact on how efficiently you move through the water.

Related: How To Swim Freestyle with Perfect Technique

Bow and Arrow Drill

The Bow and Arrow is a great drill for working on balance in freestyle.

To do this, pause your recovering arm when it’s above your head and hold it there for six kicks while your opposite arm is extended in streamline and you’re on your side. At the pause, your body should mimic holding a bow and arrow.

To do this drill really well, try to hold your arm at a 45 degree angle to the water’s surface during the 6 kicks so you can initiate a clean hand entry. This drill can be challenging if you don’t have a strong kick, so it’s recommended to wear fins to support a high body position.

Related: How To Check Your Technique When Swimming Alone

Single Arm Freestyle Drill

The Single Arm Freestyle drill is one of the best drills for a swimmer working on developing a strong catch and rotational power. This drill requires you to drive rotation with your core and hips while only pulling with one arm.

Keep your other arm at your side and focus on keeping your eyes on the bottom of the pool. Focus on full rotation to both sides of your body even on the side that you’re not pulling with. The rotation for this side will come from your core so focus on maintaining a strong kick.

Related: 2-Week Freestyle Technique Bootcamp

6-Kick Switch – With No Arms Drill

The 6-Kick Switch – With No Arms drill is an advanced drill in freestyle that works on balancing on your side. Similar to the regular 6-kick switch drill, which uses your arms to help generate rotation from side to side.

This drill calls for 6 kicks on each side, but keeping both your arms at your side. Your head is down, and your core and legs drive the rotation. Freestyle involves continuous rotation from side to side and this drill helps you find balance while kicking on your side. Adding fins is a great way to complement this drill and help you keep a high body position.

Related: 2-Week Kick Technique Bootcamp

Fist Drill (Fancy Fingers)

The fist Drill is a fantastic way to activate your forearms and feel an early vertical forearm. By reducing the surface area of your hands, you engage your entire arm and pull more water.

This drill starts with just using your pointer fingers to pull, then gradually adding your middle finger and the rest of your fingers. You can get creative with the different hand variations, but the key focus of this drill is to activate the nerve endings in your finger tips and improve your feel of the water.

Related: The 5 Most Common Freestyle Mistakes

The Fist Drill is the single best technique to improve your freestyle catch. If you have access to whiffle balls or tennis balls, swim with them in your hands and feel the connection with your forearm.

Because you’re decreasing the surface area of your hands, the rest of your arms will have to step up and pull more water. When you return to regular freestyle, your hands will feel really powerful! It’s important to keep the same mechanics you had with the balls in your hands to get the most benefit from the drill.

Related: How MySwimPro Helped Me Swim Again After 12 Years Off

Underwater Freestyle Drill

The Underwater Freestyle Drill focuses on engaging your entire body so you can really feel the connection between your hips, shoulders and the resistance of your arms.

To do this drill well, you’ll need a strong kick. Focus on maintaining a steady kick and driving the rotation with your hips. Feel the resistance of the water on your arms and try to reach full extension. Keep your body in alignment.

This is a more advanced drill, so it’s recommended if you wear a pair of fins to help keep you underwater.

Looking for a good pair of fins? Check out our gift guide for swimmers.

We hope you enjoy these 5 free freestyle drills for advanced swimmers! Try them out and let us know what you think!

If you’re looking for more drills, download the MySwimPro app to explore our library of Technique Videos, and get a personalized Training Plan designed to help you improve your technique, swim faster and reach your goals. Use code SWIM35 for $35 off your first year of MySwimPro ELITE >



  1. Bob SHERIDAN on

    Thanks for the great website. I wish I was able to follow some portion of your program. But I’m 85 and have a drop foot which limits my ability to kick. I get my 1000 m in with 5 min laps 3 or 4 times a week. It is the best part of my day.
    Is there any part of your program that I should look into?

    • Taylor Holmes on

      Hi Bob, You can absolutely follow MySwimPro workouts without kicking. Here’s how to update your profile in the MySwimPro app so that you don’t see kick sets anymore:

      1. Open the app and tap on the Profile tab in the bottom right
      2. Tap on Swim Profile on the right of the screen
      3. View your SEED TIMES, and see which strokes you have selected
      4. Tap on Kick to un-select it.
      5. Your profile will update, and the app will automatically substitute any kick sets with Stroke sets. This means that you can swim any stroke you would like!

      If you do not use the MySwimPro app, know that you are free to swap out any kick sets with sets that do work for you. Or, you can swim with a pull buoy to eliminate kicking all together.

      Hope this helps! Happy swimming 🙂

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