The 1 Up 1 Down Drill for Breaststrokers

The 1 Up, 1 Down Drill for Breaststrokers

Here is a breaststroke drill for swimmers looking to improve stroke length and hitting your line courtesy of elite club coach, PASA’s Tony Batis.

Tony Batis is no stranger to coaching fast swimmers.

Batis is the head coach of Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics, which has ranked on the USA Swimming Club Excellence list. Beyond coaching national and junior national finalists he has placed numerous swimmers on international teams since taking over the PASA program in 1992.

Today he shares his favorite breaststroke drill that he picked up from Jon Urbanchek while the legendary coach was at Michigan.

The drill, known as 1 up, 1 down, is designed to improve your distance per stroke, help develop efficiency in the water, and “hit your line.”

How to Do the 1 Up/1 Down Drill

The 1/1 drill is fairly straightforward, but it’s simplicity doesn’t mean you lapse on being focused and engaged in the drill.

Here is how to do it:

  • Perform 1 regular stroke above the water, and then 1 stroke below the water.
  • The down strokes are not to be done as pull-outs, but with the regular arm motion.
  • Variations include 2/2, 3/3, and 4/4; it’s not limited to just doing one stroke up and one stroke down.
  • Easier to do it long course, but as Batis notes, the drill can also be done in a short course pool as well.
  • To make it more challenging use flip-turns instead of open turns and go on an interval; as Batis adds, “This drill can be very aerobic in nature if you want.”
  • This drill can be readily used by swimmers of almost every level.

Here is a video courtesy of the folks over at SwimMAC to give you a visual representation of how the drill is performed:

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Olivier Poirier-Leroy Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.

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