How to Fix the Timing In Your Breaststroke

How to Fix the Timing in Your Breaststroke

Rose Bowl Aquatics head coach Jeff Julian stops by to share a drill that has helped his swimmers add flow to their breaststroke. Here’s how to do it.

For those of you trying to swim faster breaststroke there are fewer things more frustrating than getting the timing right.

Jeff Julian, head coach at Rose Bowl Aquatics in Pasadena, California, has a drill that will help you correct the timing in your breaststroke so that it is more fluid, and ultimately, more awesome.

Jeff Julian Rose Bowl AquaticsJulian has a wealth of experience in the pool.

He’s a USA Swimming National Team Coach, an ASCA-Level 5 certified coach, and has been the head coach at Rose Bowl Aquatics, one of the top teams in the loaded Southern California area, since 2004.

As a butterfly specialist Jeff was captain at the University of Southern California, a PAC-10 champ, US Open champion, finaled at US Olympic Trials and was a member of the US National team.

Outside of the pool he would marry Olympic gold-medalist and USC teammate Kristine Quance, and face his biggest test in 2015 when he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.

The In-Sweep Scull for Breaststrokers

Julian’s favorite breaststroke drill is the in-sweep scull and is a part of the “power catch” series that he uses with his swimmers that helps them improve their breaststroke technique.

Here is why you should be doing it:

“I’ve found this drill to be really good at setting up the timing and flow to the stroke,” says Julian.

For breaststrokers at most levels, it can be hard finding a good flow or timing in their stroke. They tend to hesitate with their breaststroke pulling motion once their elbows are below their chest instead of performing a continuous pull.

“If done correctly, this can eliminate a ‘pause’ under the body and/or slow forward recovery,” adds Julian.

See Also: How to Fix and Prevent Breaststroker’s Knee

“This drill has really helped my breaststrokers along the way.”

Here is how to do it:

  • Start with your hand and in a Y position, hands just outside the elbows.
  • The swimmer only does the catch phase of the pull; ensure that the elbows stay up and reaches the position that he would normally start the pulling motion.
  • Hands then slide back out front.
  • Perform 3 cycles of the sculling motion and then launch into a full stroke cycle.
  • This drill can be either done strictly pull “with or without a pull buoy to force more core connection or with a slight flutter kick to keep it as more of a teaching drill.”

A big thank you for Jeff for sharing this drill with us. You can stay up to date with Jeff on Twitter where he posts regularly, as well as on Tumblr where he’s published a bunch of the workouts his national group has done.

More Breaststroke Drills:

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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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