Breaststroke Drills – The Catch

The catch is one of the most important aspect of the breaststroke. Getting hold of the water early in the stroke is crucial if you are going to swim the stroke well. Many beginners don’t put enough pressure on the water and ‘lose’ the water which means they won’t travel as far per stroke. In this video there are a couple of drills that can really help you improve your breaststroke.


Sculling is where you move your hand in an inward and outward motion. You do not pull the arms backwards but stroke across the water. Sculling is the basis of all good swimming strokes and should be taught as early as possible. Beginning swimmers get the idea that they need to pull at the water in order to move but it is the sculling action that gives the most benefit. Sculling will allow you to get a great feel for the water. you should feel the water on your hands and forearms.

For breaststroke it is good to do sculling with your hands out in from. Begin first by compelting this drill with your head in the water. This teaches the concept of beginning the outsweep before the head is lifted. Do not kick in this drill. If you are struggling to stay afloat simply use a pull buoy between your legs to help you stay on top of the water.

Next perform the exact same drill but have your head out of the water. It doesn’t need to be too high so you need to think about having your chin on the surface of the water. Sculling can become tiring so it is not only great for working on technique but also for improving strength and muscle indurance.

Small Arm Strokes – No Legs

Once you are comfortable with the scull you can now do some small arm strokes. Again, no kicking in the drill and use a pull buoy if needed. Swimming breaststroke fast is about stroking fast however you need to ensure that you get back into a streamlined position after each stroke. The video doesn’t mention this but you still need to finish off each stroke. If you are planning on racing a 50m or 100m breaststroke you will need to stroke faster than if you are training fro a 200m race. Which ever you are aiming for it is still important to get back into a streamlined position after each stroke.

These two drills will help you swim breaststroke fast. They enable you to put pressure on the water at the beginning of the catch phase and also train you to stroke quickly without comprmising on your streamline position.

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