Swim Tools

Swim Drills

Coach Jess demonstrates the 10 most common swim drills for triathlon.

  • Broken Arrow Drill
  • Wide Entry Drill
  • One Arm Drill
  • 6-1-6 Drill
  • Tricep Burner Drill
  • Hi Shoulder Head Tap Drill
  • Sighting Drill
  • Downhill Swimming Drill
  • Fingers Down Drill
  • Head Up Drill

Additional Drills are:

  • Doggy paddle
  • Javelin
  • Popov
  • Torpedo kick
  • Doggy Paddle Extension
  • Water Polo
  • Skulling

Work through the 7-day Swim Challenge

Coach Jess outlined a 7 day swim challenge to supercharge your swimming. Take this week long challenge at any point, or cruise through the content to gain knowledge and skills. 

  • Day 1: All About Technique
  • Day 2: Open Water Drills
  • Day 3: Strength for Swimming
  • Day 4: Gear Assessment
  • Day 5: Draft a Plan
  • Day 6: Design Your Pep Talk
  • Day 7: Put a Mentor in place


Q: What the heck is a beeper, where do I get one, and how do I use it?

A: For developing swimmers, or people who go out too hard, we love using a Finis Tempo Trainer PRO (user manual here) (cheaper on Amazon). Many people think these are used for swim cadence (and they can be) but we use them for pacing in the pool. So you set the beeper to a certain time (like 25 seconds for 1:40/100 pace), hit start and get swimming. Then the goal is to flip turn (or your turn of preference) to the beep. We can alter the beeper to methodically get you faster. Some people hate the beeper and some love the beeper. It has a lot to do with your personality and whether you are a 1)Upholder 2)Obliger 3)Questioner 4)Rebel (if you don't know, go watch the Webinar on Motivation: Know Thyself). We find Upholders and Obligers love the beeper, as do those who love data (some Questioners), Rebels hate the beeper.

Q: What does IM Drill stand for in a swim workout?

A: IM= Individual Medley. It looks like this:

IM 100: 25 butterfly (incredible for developing good freestyle stroke and muscular endurance)

            25 back stroke

            25 breast stroke

            25 freestyle

Q: How do you bring your swim workout with you to the pool?

A: Some folks write it on a piece of paper, get that piece of paper wet and stick it to a kickboard on the deck. Some people love to write it on a piece of paper and put it in a plastic baggie.

Here is a water bottle that you can write your workout on: ADVERB BOTTLES

Q: What does flop stand for?

A: It’s just my fancy term for a swim that isn’t really about fitness, it’s about recovery and blood flow. I call it a flop. Some of my athletes play with their kids in the pool for their flop. The cold water helps our legs with inflammation, and the swimming gets some blood flowing, with zero impact. It’s my super secret trick that flopping after a long run reduces the recovery time by 24-36 hours!

Q:  Should I be recording the actual time it takes me to finish a swim set? For example, you asked me to do a 1750.

A: YES YES YES!!! The time on your swims is just a number we have in there….it’s not what we think it will take you, so for the first few weeks it’s super important for you to record how long it does take you (which might turn the workout box yellow instead of green….don’t freak out). Then we will learn and be able to adjust!

Q: I see the following on an upcoming swim workout. What does this mean? 12X25 on :45 ++odd drill ++even build

A: Length 1,3,7,9,11 pick a drill. Length 2,4,6,8,10,12 start slower and build to fast fast fast pace.  Leave the wall every 45 seconds

Q: When a swim workout says with flippers, do you swim arms straight out or use a kickboard? 

A: Check out this VIDEO.  The beautiful Karlyn Pipes, holder of over 200+ masters swimming WORLD records. For our advanced swimmers...please note her drill, and use it!! For our developing swimmers, please note this is how we kick without a kick board, on your back with your flippers (NO POOL BUOY between legs). She's is dolphin kicking but you can flutter kick on your back with flippers just the same. NOTE: her beautiful streamline position, i.e. Her hands above head, tight and on top of each other, head in neutral position, and also note her relaxation and ease! Quite lovely! ALOHA!!

Q: When a swim workout has a pull exercise, are paddles implied or only if coach specifies? 

A: Paddles are typically implied when the workout says 'pull'. With that being said, we rely on the the athlete to use their best judgement on this. Most beginners should not swim a lot with paddles until they have built up some volume and haven't had any shoulder issues. It is about muscular endurance and strength for the shoulder muscles and joint. 

How to use a Finis Tempo Trainer PRO