This is an abridged version of our extensive reading materials. Videos are embedded and Week 1 workouts are at the end.  Not all sections are presented, and not all presented sections are complete. Only what is required for successful understanding and completion of Week 1. 

PART I - Overview

Section 1 – Introduction

This is a 12-week course that will give the athlete an introduction to new concepts and skill based progressions, and contains options for higher levels of fitness and refinement. The basic framework is intended to provide the athlete with between 1-3 workouts per week to master the basic components of timing based propulsion and a rhythmic kick. The first session of each week (titled "Primary Workout X" where "X" is the week in the cycle) is instructional and should be done in its entirety. By enabling the athlete to focus only one workout a week on basic instructional type activities, it can be easily integrated into a larger training framework that consists of multiple days per week in the pool without compromising fitness. The second session in each week is labeled as "Supplemental Workout", and is to be done a la carte according to the athletes’ own needs and abilities. While the supplemental workout is not indispensable to learning the basic concepts, it can hasten the time to mastery, and therefore is highly encouraged.


Section 2 - Basic Technical Cycle Framework 

The individual workouts will be strung together to form a cohesive, progressive 3 week technical cycle:

Week 1 – Introduction to drills and concepts for this cycle. 
Week 2 – Refine drills and integrate into sets/finer points. 
Week 3 – Finish the cycle by using drills in warm-up, then perform a speed related activity, and then use the drills in warm down. 

Section 5 - Using Supplementary Workouts

There are generally 3 “blocks” in the Supplementary Workout given each week.  The intention is that you can do these blocks in an “a la carte” fashion, or, they can be mixed and matched to arrive at a single, complete workout.  The first block tends to have shorter swim lengths, and/or, basic and less strenuous activities.  The 2nd and 3rd blocks are more conditioning oriented, with the third block generally longer, and sometimes involving more complex activities.  For a coherent workout of between 2,000-2,500 yards, you can do the first, and then either the second or third block, followed later in the week by another session doing the first block combined with whatever blocks you did not do prior.  For a very long, challenging workout, you can do all three.

Section 8 – Prerequisites

The ability to swim from end of a 25 yard or meter pool to the other, without stopping, using some recognizable version of the basic Australian crawl, or freestyle stroke. It would be useful if you were able to swim 100 yards/meters continuously before taking this course, but not a requirement. 

Face does not need to be in the water. However if you are unable to swim with your face in the water, breathing to the side, you should check out our mini-tutorial on 'bobs' here. Feet should resemble a flutter kick.

That is all you need to get started.  In fact, if that is all you have to get started, you will likely benefit greatly from this course. On the other extreme, we have seen athletes in the sub 1:20 / 100 meter range drop multiple seconds from their 100 meter sustained pace.  The course works for a very wide range of swimmers

Section 9 - How to Use This Course 

For those eager to begin we recommend reading Part I, all sections, and then reading through the first weeks workout text, watch the videos, and hit the pool.  Go week by week as you progress through the program.  Read the weeks text at the beginning of the week, then go to that weeks’ workout to print, and get to it.  If you are one who likes to see all of the why's and wherefor's you could read all parts in their entirety, but you can also just refer to specific sections as needed as you go along. 

Section 10 – Best Practices
The most effective use of this course, and in essence the passive technique approach, will involve a mindset, or set of "best practices", characterized by the following attributes:

Focus on the execution of an individual drill or activity without distraction

Resist the urge to decide what your ultimate stroke should look like before the program is completed 

PART II – The Ideas

Section 1 - Finding Your Stroke

This is not a course that attempts to teach you a single, correct, style of swimming. This course is intended to stimulate athletes to find their own optimal stroke technique. It will coach them to find their ideal balance of effort and relaxation, stroke and breathing rhythm, and hone their ability to adjust speeds and effort levels during a race as needed.  It includes activities that are intended to develop particular skills that I believe are common to all effective styles of swimming. In this way, the athlete may learn new skills and drills that are effective by themselves, but that will also assist them in integrating that which they have learned from other programs of swimming instruction. 


Section 2 - Passive Technique(TM): Process-Based Coaching and Development of Physical Vocabulary 

My general approach to coaching swimming technique improvements is more of a process-based approach than a corrective instruction approach. I have the belief that most athletes find it exceedingly difficult to internalize verbal corrections, or "active technique" instruction - and often those who do have this ability are so gifted as to need very little of it. Neither do I attempt to teach a “correct” style – there are as many variations of the basic Australian crawl as there are body types and performance goals. That does not mean that there are not commonalities – techniques that optimize propulsion and minimize effort – there most certainly are, but rather than focusing on a single end-goal of precise form, I strive to develop the core competencies and develop the athletes ability to integrate multiple competencies into a stroke that works for them. 

Technical improvements, therefore, must come from a systematic and integrated set of activities that builds the core competencies of a fast swimmer in a component fashion. Once these component skills are mastered, integration of these skills into the actual swimming stroke may occur spontaneously (in contrast to verbal corrections, mastered component skills are integrated quite readily, and often unconsciously, by a majority of athletes), as a result of specific targeted activities that work to integrate various component skills with one another (i.e., a multi-component set), or by activities that serve to stimulate the athlete to integrate skills directly into the swimming stroke.  The arrangement of these activities in a carefully orchestrated, but process-based manner is what we call "passive technique". The components of the passive technique system fall into the following categories: 


Physical Vocabulary - Swimming motions and body positions are, for the most part, alien to the human neuromuscular/musculoskeletal system. By developing a library of these motions and positions in component fashion, swimmers in essence increase their "physical vocabulary". This then provides the foundation of fast swimming – the basic movements – that are then integrated to provide successful propulsion. Nearly all drills and drill progressions contain an element of physical vocabulary development. 

Rhythmic Development - Successful integration of swimming movements is dependent upon proper timing. For a basic example, an athlete might kick and pull with tremendous force, but if those motions are not synchronized properly, their body position, leverage and forward motion will be hampered significantly. A variety of drills can be used to develop rhythm (much in the way one might learn in a music class), and simultaneously serve to enhance workout diversity. 

Body and Movement Awareness - Most drilling activities, at their core, serve to augment ones awareness of their physical movements and the spatial relationship between body parts – but there also exists a range of activities that specifically target awareness. Two basic examples are the “head touch” or “finger-tip drag” drills. It is essential, however, to utilize a wide range of drills (including awareness-specific ones) to continue to provide new stimulus to the system. I believe that repetition of a small, static set of activities becomes ineffective for awareness development after only a short period of time (maybe after just 3-4 weeks). 

Relaxation and Ease of Movement - Maintaining a supple body form (rather than rigid OR flaccid) is a key to executing swimming skills in an efficient manner. Overly rigid body parts, or jerky motions tend to slice through the water, failing at the…

Goal of Propulsion - Overly flaccid body parts or motions tend to result in greater amounts of drag, and a loss of proper body position. The ideal are relaxed, yet firm (supple) motions and body parts, which can excel at gripping the water for propulsive forces, and serving as an ideal "hull" for riding the water. 


Section 3 - The Foundation

The Passive Technique approach relies on mostly non-verbal stimulus to achieve changes in the swimming form.  The notion is that "conceptual ignorance" does not limit us so much as "physical ignorance".  In other words, if your distance per stroke is serving as a limiter to your performance, it is not so much that your mind doesn't know that your stroke is too short, it is that your body does not know how to effectively make it longer.  In fact, if your body possessed the fundamental components needed for an optimal stroke (aka "physical vocabulary"), it would select it's optimal distance per stroke simply through the pursuit of speed in workouts, and the refinement of efficiency through basic drilling routines.  

The fact that most courses and approaches to swimming instruction rely on an "active technique" or "corrective approach" (“Tell me what is wrong with my stroke?”) means that they fail to engage the swimmers ability to adapt as a result of physical stimulus - a far more potent agent of change than verbal stimulus.  

PART III – The Philosophy

Section 1 - Variety, Adaptation, and the Foreign Environment 

When I look at a human being, I see a learning and adaptation machine. I think that our ability to alter our form is what sets us apart from the rest of the earth's creatures, or at least is one of the few things that we do in a superior manner relative to other creatures (some salamanders are the exception of course). The benefits of variety (which you might call “cross training”) from a psychological perspective are widely appreciated. Coaches and athletes like to eliminate boredom because bored athletes tend to miss more workouts. But I think it goes deeper than that. I think that the human craving for variety is instinctive, and an integral part of our superb ability to adapt and transform ourselves. I believe that by employing variety we can optimize the stimulus that will help us to find the subtleties that lead to truly superior execution, innovate unknown aspects of refined technique, and expand our awareness. 

The passive technique approach employs variety to develop each of the four basic skills: awareness, rhythm, physical vocabulary and relaxation. It also employs variety as a means of providing the stimulus for integration (swimming with a pulse kick is a great example of this). While a passive technique approach might be used for developing almost any skill, I think that the unique nature of swimming truly calls for it. At its core, learning to swim requires adapting to a foreign environment (the aquatic one). Beyond the basic challenge of getting sufficient oxygen (no mean feat before you have mastered swimming) so many of the basic motions, limb/body positions, and sequences of movements used in swimming are alien to the human physiology. 

However, while this perspective sees a benefit in variety for variety’s sake, a structured program contains certain inevitable outcomes that are a consequence of the activities that make up the structure. This course attempts to provide the tools that can be used to create variety, as well as insight into the outcomes that are a product of employing these tools and techniques (see table V.1 for a list of “Activities and Outcomes”). While it lays out a set of workouts that are designed to introduce, refine and reinforce the basic skills needed for optimal freestyle swimming, the individual is encouraged to add their own texture to the workout, using the drills and activities in this program, or simply applying the approach and insights used in this book to invent, interpret and/or implement other drills and activities. 


Section 2 - "Feel" for the Water

One will often hear coaches and swimmers describing the adept as having a "feel for the water". Most people are referring to a fairly narrow notion when talking of feel, and it is specifically oriented towards the hands. They believe that swimmers need to have a good, subtle touch on the water that allows them to "feel" when they are creating propulsion, versus when they are "slipping" through the water. Back in the old days, when everyone was convinced that lift was the primary agent of swimming propulsion they called it "searching for still water". Furthermore, the idea goes that a person with a good feel is capable of observing how subtle changes in hand position, angle of attach, and form (i.e. fingers slightly apart versus perfectly sealed) can provide the optimal propulsion.

Some folks (I am one of these) extend this notion to the rest of the body, believing that good swimmers are able to sense (or feel) when their body is out of alignment, causing excess drag, and similarly how to make subtle (often subconscious) manipulations of the body/hull such that the position with the least amount of drag is maintained throughout the stroke. This might involve many complex muscle interactions that slightly change some body lines while the body is rotating from side to side, and to balance the need for slipstreaming and force generation. Additionally, this is characterized by rhythmic application of the kick, which is a sign that the athlete knows "just the right time" to apply force with the feet in order to maximize the benefit of the forces being applied by the arms and hands.

The Passive Technique approach of varying stimulus in an orchestrated fashion will deliver great improvements to a person’s ability to feel the water, on and around their hands and body. Moreover, the focus on timing and rhythm will develop the athlete’s ability to sense the appropriate moments for synchronized force application.


Section 3 -  "Analytical Types" and the Process-Based Approach

Some folks, I will call them "analytical types" (myself being one good example), have trouble just "letting go" of the drills and concepts when they get back to swimming.  This is somewhat common for people who like to know the steps, i.e., thinkers.  Other folks do a really good job of just focusing on the drills when drilling and then forgetting about them when they swim, i.e. letting nature take its course -- for what it's worth I will refer to these as "intuitive types".  

While the process occurs more organically and swiftly for intuitive types, in the end it is not a huge issue, since analytical types tend to really flourish once they get the full picture, which comes somewhere roughly around week 10.  In the meantime, the analytical person should try their best to just swim naturally when swimming, resisting the urge to think about CHANGING their stroke.  Instead, the analytical type should try to use what they have learned through the process to become AWARE of what is going on, and since they have a set of terminology, use that terminology to DESCRIBE to themselves (and us) that which they are experiencing.  It is hard sometimes to think this way, but simply being aware of what one does naturally is an ESSENTIAL part of becoming better.  Much more important than KNOWING what the RIGHT thing is.


Section 4 - How Much Will I Improve?

This is of course difficult to mark, since improvements will range depending on how far you have to go.  In the group classes where we have implemented the Finding Freestyle progression, we have recorded 300 yard timed swims as our benchmark at weeks 6 and 12. For those who had a 300 yard time when the course began (while many can NOT swim 300 yards at week 1, all participants have completed 300 yards continuous by week 12), we have recorded an average :15 second drop for a 300 yard swim - :05 seconds per 100.  The second 6 weeks have seen an additional  :11 drop for the 300 (average of nearly 4 seconds per 100).  In terms of where athletes start, we have had substantial improvements from athletes who began the course with 300 yard paces that were below 1:20 per 100 -- this course really works for a wide range of people.


Section 5 - What Should My Stroke Look Like When it is Finished?

As this program places particular emphasis on the rhythmic timing of the hands and feet, and teaches athletes to do both 2 and 6 beat kicks, swimmers naturally begin to ponder their end result.  Will I have a 2-beat kick?  A 6-beat kick?  Shouldn’t I use a 2-beat kick because it will save my legs for the bike and run portion of my triathlons?  Shouldn't I develop a 6-beat kick because that will be more powerful, and make me swim faster??  All of these questions are valid, but in some cases, premature, or perhaps irrelevant.  I believe that the type of stroke you use is dictated by your own intrinsic physical properties, and if you engage in properly stimulating activities (passive techniques) you will "find" that stroke.  Thus, I ask that you suspend your desire to predict or aim for a specific final product for the duration of the program.

Section 6 - Awareness

With all awareness building activities, you need to be patient - awareness does not come overnight, it is the result of a long, committed process. If you can focus on what you ARE perceiving, instead of worrying about what you are NOT perceiving, you will gradually build your awareness from your starting point. You can think about awareness as a point that grows into a sphere - the "point" is located at the places in your body that you ARE aware of - by focusing on that particular point, you can then try to expand that point into a sphere - the outer edges of that sphere then form the basis of new points for you to create new spheres until finally, your awareness becomes quite broad.

Section 7 - Judgement

As one gains awareness of their motions, there can be a downside - awareness leads to judgement. Not that judgement in and of itself is a bad thing - we are intending to change from our current state to some new, more desirable state, and this of course requires a judgement of what is "better". And of course, the perception of "flaw", or undesired motion, can be extremely useful: awareness of something undesirable can lead to the awareness of the absence of something desirable. The danger, however, is that awareness of an undesirable leads almost inevitably to a judgement, "this is bad", and the judgement can distract the individual from their awareness, and lead them towards trying to make a correction. Be wary of the sequence "awareness -> judgement -> correction" which transforms a passive approach to a corrective approach. Rather than trying to make an immediate change, it can be helpful to simply experience our awareness, and follow it to the root of what is causing the desired or undesired motion.

A concrete example of this mindset is the deliberate introduction of the 1-legged kick in week 2, without regard for any notion of proper timing. We ask the swimmer to simply figure something out, and to try to become aware of what they are doing. In week 3 we introduce a special case to the 1-legged kick, the 1-beat kick (kicking one time per cycle). Still we refrain from teaching the proper timing, in order to allow the individual to expand their awareness to the way their body/mind interacts with this new activity, and then finally, in week 4, we actually ask them to perform a specific timing with this drill. Ultimately, we have chosen this approach because we have found it simply works better if we can help the athlete to refrain from rushing to judgement.

Section 8 - Following the Pace and Taking a Nap!

At times you may be confronted by drills or activities that do not come naturally, and whose proper execution eludes you.  Do not retard yourself by stopping the program until you master a given drill that may be vexing you.  The skills needed by any single drill are echoed in a number of drills and activities, and the keys to mastering one drill may actually lie in moving on to another activity, or by simply stepping back from the activity for a time to alllow your subconscious time to ponder and process the activity.  

Often times when I am struggling with a particular work problem I will take a short nap, and many times the solution or a means of approaching a solution will manifest itself as I leave the nap.  The sequences in this program purposely move from one activity to the next without spending an inordinate amount of time on a single skill, or requiring that you master a certain activity before moving to the next activity.  This approach is a purposeful attempt to introduce a particular stimulus and then move on, in effect giving your body-brain time to take a nap in order to ponder its experience, and to formulate a solution to the problem that has been posed to it.

Section 9 - Primary Considerations, Secondary Considerations 

The title of this topic is inspired by a common reminder that the revolutionary swim coach Bob Mattson used to give – “have no secondary considerations”. In other words, focus on the task at hand. It is as relevant for the coach as it is for the athlete. For the athlete completing the workouts in this course it means focus on the drill at hand, and try to clear your mind of the other stuff that you have been told to work on in other courses and by other coaches on other days.

For example, if you are doing float and paddle, think about float and paddle, and forget about the Statue of Liberty for the time being. Don’t even think about how this might fit into your stroke someday, or if it is compatible with the current axioms that you here repeated on your favorite endurance athlete web forum. By focusing simply and completely on the task at hand you will develop awareness, your will ingrain the physical vocabulary that each activity has to offer, and you will also reduce the emotional stress of the workout!

Section IV - Drills, Skills, Activities and Lingo

Section 2 - The Float and Paddle - Statue of Liberty "Continuum" There are two basic pulling drills used in this program, the “Float & Paddle” (F&P) and the “Statue of Liberty” (SoL). Basically, the F&P resembles a “windmill” style of pulling, and the SoL resembles more of a “catch-up” form of pulling.

Statue of Liberty (SoL)


Basic Description:

The swimmer kicks on their side with one arm extended forward and one extended back towards the feet (at their side).

After a pre-designated number of kicks, the swimmer pulls, rotating to the opposite side.

SoL generally comes with a numerical designation,  such as 1-6. This indicates that at least 6 kicks should be performed before every 1 arm stroke.  We will experiment with many forms of t his drill suck as 1-6, 3-6, 5-6, 2-6, 2-8, 2-12 and so on.  Varieties are endless. CHOICE means just that.  Swimmers choice as to # of pulls and # of intermittent kicks. 


Body position, balance, integrated timing of kicking and pulling.

Proper rotation (not all the way to 90 degrees) allows leverage during the catch and power developed from the body.

Key Points:

The head "leads", in other words, put the face in the water, with eyes looking at the bottom of the pool before pulling phase begins.

Turn head to the side when a breath is needed, put it back in the water to exhale.

"Continuous kick" - Work to eliminate any pause in the kick while you transition from kicking on your side to taking the stroke and rotating to the opposite side. 

Advanced Points: 

Shoulder of "down" arm is out of the water, body forming approximately a 45 degree angle with the water surface to optimize balance work 

Float and Paddle (F&P) 


Basic description: Swimmer floats horizontally and extends arms outward 
from shoulders into a “T” starting position, rotating the body core to paddle the arms.  Maintain the “T” arm position by attempting to limit all rotation at the shoulder joint.  If shoulder joint is immobile, the only way to make the arms move in a paddling motion is to rotate the torso.  Legs remain still, simply “floating” behind the upper body. 

How to Propel With Shoulders "Locked"?
With locked shoulders, the generation of power from torso rotation and "shoulder girdle" motion is quite appropriate.


Basic pull propulsion

 Engaging torso in time with arms and head for “full body” pulling

Reduced shoulder rotation.


Key points: 

Wide, shallow catch and sweep helps maintain “T”

Rotate from core to execute paddling

Maintain horizontal balance through the legs and hips without kicking

Maintain head position for proper balance

Clearly, the freestyle forms suggested by the Float and Paddle drill and the Statue of Liberty drills are quite different. The F&P style is characterized by “opposition” – the arms are always pointing in opposite directions, and “low frequency kicking” such as a 2-beat kick. The SoL style is a “high-frequency kick” based form, which lends itself to either opposition or “catch-up” styles of pulling. One can see these two forms as being on either end of a “continuum” in terms of both arms and legs.

While there are great examples of athletes who inhabit the extremes: Janet Evans with her 2-beat kick and purely opposition pulling style, Michael Phelps, with his powerful 6-beat kick and “half catch-up” style of pulling, most athletes fall somewhere in this continuum. The combinations are virtually endless, there are 4-beat kickers, 6-beat kickers with opposition type arms, and athletes who use some pulse kicking forms in competition. The true rarity is the combination of a 2-beat kick and catch-up arms – this does not seem to be a very successful combination as the non-propulsive “gaps” that are created are simply too inefficient to promote optimal forward motion.

The Finding Freestyle program helps the athlete navigate their way along the continuum, naturally selecting the style that suits their personal strengths and body composition. Once mastery of the drills is obtained, the swimmer will find themselves hitting their own optimal rhythm and stroke range, as well as being able to effortlessly transition within this range to adjust to changes in currents, conditions and speeds.

Week 1 - Primary Text


The first week of this training program begins at the ends – the two ends of the “Float & Paddle – Statue of Liberty continuum”. These two drills mark the outer ranges of the stroke pattern that your arms will ultimately find themselves in when you have developed and tuned your stroke to its optimum level. The contrast offered by these two drills is stark in terms of complexity as well as the basic arm mechanics employed.

In the Float & Paddle, (see video) you have the Australian crawl in its most stripped down, elemental form – constant kinetic motion, switching between two basic forms – right arm extended/left arm at your side and left arm extended/right arm at your side – with the only “moving parts” being your torso (and your head, of course, when you need to breath).

With the SoL, (see video) you have a complicated interaction between kicking, pulling, pausing, floating, breathing, and counting. While very different, these two contrasting drills intersect in fast swimming; specifically, F&P will teach you to engage the muscles of your torso in order to propel your arms, this is a fundamental characteristic of optimal swimming propulsion. SoL will help you to develop a sense of body balance and positioning in the water, and it will encourage you to integrate the pull and the kick together in a smooth rhythmic flow – this too is a fundamental for propulsion.

When you are doing the “Technical Focus” portion of the workout, explore and exaggerate these contrasts. Make the shoulder joint as rigid as possible when doing the F&P, trying to make torso rotation the only means of moving your arms. Contrast is a powerful tool to increase your awareness. By taking these first steps to developing aquatic body awareness, you will be on your way to knowing where you are, an essential part of getting to where you want to go.

Most importantly, however, is to be patient with your execution. Many will find it next to impossible to “turn off” the legs entirely when doing F&P. Others may find it hard to switch from one side to the next rhythmically in SoL. Even if you are a relatively experienced swimmer, your body only “knows what it knows” (not what it doesn’t know) – there will be many motions that are foreign to you. This is a fact of life when building physical vocabulary. When you are developing new vocabulary, remember to treat yourself like you would a child learning new words, if you can even discern the word from the noise, you are headed in the right direction.

Week 1 - Primary Workout

1 x 300 CHOICE, REST 1:00
4 x 25 PULL (NO BUOY) REST :10
4 x 25 SWIM, REST :10

TECHNICAL FOCUS - Take your time!
As Much Rest As Needed (AMRAN)
6 x 25 PULL
6 x 25 STATUE OF LIBERTY 1-6 (SoL)
4 x 25 FLOAT & PADDLE (F&P)

[1 x 25; 1 x 50; 1 x 75; 1 x 100]


FLOAT AND PADDLE (F&P) – sometimes referred to as “kayak paddle”, or “t-paddle”
because the arms are fixed at the shoulders, and all propulsion is achieved by rotating the
body to drive these fixed arms. Legs float behind – challenge is to keep them elevated,
however, proper body motion will make this happen for the most part.

Basic excution: 
Swimmer floats horizontally and extends arms outward from shoulders into a “T” starting position, rotating the body core to paddle the arms. Maintain the “T” arm position by attempting to limit all rotation at the shoulder joint. If shoulder joint is immobile, the only way to make the arms move in a paddling motion is to rotate the torso. Legs remain still, simply “floating” behind the upper body.

Skills: basic pull propulsion, engaging torso in time with arms and head for “full body” pulling, reduced shoulder rotation.

PULL – it is OK to let the legs dangle independently, or even to have a little “counterbalancing” motion from them.
Try Pulling without a buoy.

STATUE OF LIBERTY (SoL) – the key objective for this drill is to achieve a comfortable
body position while kicking on your side, and try to smoothly transition from the side
kicking to the pulling phase. 1-6 (1 pull, 6 kicks) is our basic form for this drill, but it can be
done in numerous combinations, such as 3-6 (3 pulls, 6 kicks), 1-9 (1p9k), etc. Do not over roatate to perform this drill. The body should be held at about a 45 degree angle from the water surface while kickingon the side. Beware going completely onto the side (90 degree angle) as this will cause difficulty in proper execution.

Basic execution:
The swimmer kicks on their side with one arm extended forward and one extended back towards the feet (at their side).
After a pre-designated number of kicks, the swimmer pulls, rotating to the opposite side.

Body position, balance, integrated timing of kicking and pulling.
Proper rotation (not all the way to 90 degrees) allows leverage during the catch and power developed from the body.

Key Points:
The head "leads", in other words, put the face in the water, with eyes looking at the bottom of the pool before pulling phase begins.
Turn head to the side when a breath is needed, put it back in the water to exhale.
"Continuous kick" - Work to eliminate any pause in the kick while you transition from kicking on your side to taking the stroke and rotating to the opposite side.

Advanced Points:
Shoulder of "down" arm is out of the water, body forming approximately a 45 degree angle with the water surface to optimize balance work


Week 1 - Supplemental Text

The supplementary workout(s) for the first week are geared to allow the swimmer time to digest and refine their understanding of the basic concepts introduced in the primary workouts.

Similarly, they are intended to begin the process of fitness building, introduce the concept of speed-play, and “hybrid” swims – swims in which the athlete performs a mixture of drills and swims during a more fitness oriented set.

The drills that are chosen for hybrid swims are often ones that can be performed at a speed that is similar to swimming, enabling the athlete to have options when working out with a group, but still wishing to spend time advancing their own agenda using the techniques in this book.

Over the course of the 12-week program, these hybrid sets will become more demanding. As the athlete learns more advanced drills and activities, their ability to integrate hybrid swims into fitness-oriented workouts will increase dramatically.

Finally, the Supplemental workouts tend to be lengthy. This is why we refer to them as workouts, rather than workout, even though only one appears weekly. Swimmers are encouraged to go as far as their fitness and time allows and to finish the supplemental activities at another time. More advanced swimmers who complete the supplemental in one session are encouraged to take advantage of a more conditioning based 3rd session provided weekly.

Week 1 - Supplemental Workout


12 X 25 on :10 REST
4X [#1 – F&P, #2 – PULL, #3 – SWIM]

6 X 50 on :15 REST
2X [#1 – SoL 1-6, #2 – SoL 3-6, #3 - SWIM]

3 X 300 on :20 REST
#1 – 100 SWIM / 100 F&P / 100 SWIM
#2 – 100 PULL / 100 SWIM / 100 PULL
#3 – 100 SWIM / 100 1-6 SoL / 100 SWIM

6 X 25 ALTERNATE 1-6 SoL/3-6 SoL on :10 REST
1 X 300 50 SWIM FAST / 50 PULL EASY, REST :20
6 X 25 F&P on :10 REST
1 X 100 FAST SWIM, REST :30

2700 yards/meters done- Good time for a break?

12 X 75 IN SETS OF 3 on :15 REST
SET #1 – 1-6 SoL / 3-6 SoL / 25 SWIM FAST
SET #3 – 25 SWIM FAST / 25 F&P / 25 SWIM FAST


3700 TOTAL yards/meters

DESCEND – This is a basic speed-play concept which generally refers to increasing speed
between successive swims in a set (increasing speed = decreasing time, hence
“descending”). So, if we are doing a set of 6 X 50, descending 1-3, it means we will increase our
speed as we go from the 1st to the 2nd to the 3rd swim of the set, and then begin the process
again through the 4th, 5th and 6th swims.

It should be stressed here that descending is a time based activity, not an effort based one. The idea is not necessarily to work harder, rather, to go faster on successive swims. Seems simple, but that first swim needs to be well under control to have any chance of descending success.


Finding Freestyle Basic Course Free Trial