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What’s the best swim drill for improving your catch that you’re not doing?

How do you know if your catch phase is effective?

Try doing the "O Ring" drill to improve your feel for the water and your catch phase

Hold your thumb and forefinger together during normal front crawl.

If you don’t feel the water flowing through your thumb and forefinger, then your elbow is likely too low, or your arms is too straight, minimising the amount of water you can catch and pull back behind yourself.

To find out which other drills you need to work on to improve your swim efficiency and speed sign up to either:

This is a really good video about how to develop the early vertical forearm position needed for the front crawl catch, with the help of using Forearm fulcrums.

"Develop Early Vertical Forearm (EVF) and increase stroke efficiency with the Forearm Fulcrum Paddles. An EVF position utilizes the entire forearm during the pull, from the fingertips to the elbow. When using the Forearm Fulcrum for stroke refinement, the paddles promote muscle memory of the proper hand, wrist and forearm position. Gain efficiency and maintain a strong, uninterrupted pull from the very beginning to the end of the stroke. " (Finis)

Swim video analysis lessons in an endless pool in Chertsey, Surrey:

What are the best swim drills for improving your catch that you’re not doing?

1. Single evf with forearm fulcrums

Early Vertical Forearm to catch point single arm with fins Using fins moving one arm at a time. Start with your arms out stretched kicking on your front. One at a time slowly and whilst keeping your upper arm high in the water, bend your elbow to 90 degrees, no further than your shoulder, then retrace this to the start position. Switch to the other arm. This helps to improve your early vertical forearm positioning and muscle memory. Perform this for 20 strokes each side.

2. Front crawl fist drill

Swim 4x50m with 20 rest

Make a fist and hold relatively together using your forearm to gain a purchase on the water - effectively acting like a large paddle.

Also note there is still a Gradual Catch, then the gradual acceleration into a backwards pull Promotes a feel for the water and improves the catch of stroke.

This drill AIMS to teach the swimmer to maintain correct technique even with a deliberately wrong hand shape

It can also be used for Awareness of slipping water, then when swimming with a normal hand shape again you may notice where the solid water is.

Learn how to correct your stroke and swim faster than ever with less energy!

We can help you improve your technique using video camera analysis, stroke correction and swim drills in the endless pool. Based in Chertsey Surrey.

Sign up to an endless pool 121 video analysis session and find out what’s been holding you back with your swim stroke.

If you have a swim technique problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the Speedy Swimming Team!

Get in touch by giving us a call on 07958635142 or email us at

Nick is a level 3 British Triathlon Coach, STA level 2 Swim Teacher, Level 1 Training Peaks coach, and Training Bible coaching Master endurance coach with 25 years’ experience in triathlon, founder and Head Coach for Speedy Swimming.

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