Improve Your Kick and Distance Per Stroke with Catch-Up Drill

Improve Your Kick and Distance Per Stroke with Catch-Up Drill

When it comes to freestyle drills, one of the absolute classics is catch-up drill. From nearly day one of my own organized swimming experience it was one of the drills that found itself in the workouts.

Karney McNear, head coach of Lower Moreland Swimming, stops by today to share why he loves this drill for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is to help improve a swimmer’s freestyle kick.

“One of our favorite drills is definitely old school– catch-up with 10 kicks and pipe,” said McNear when I recently asked him one of his favorite ways to boost the freestyle kick of his swimmers.

Improve Your Kick and Distance Per Stroke with Catch-Up Drill
Image courtesy of Karney McNear

McNear has been involved with USA Swimming since the 1970’s, and is a second generation swim coach.

Here is why he ranks catch-up drill as one of his favorite.

Why Catch-Up Drill is so Effective

McNear likes the drill for a few different reasons:

  1. To improve the freestyle kick. With the gap between strokes swimmers need to concentrate on having a full and unrelenting kick.
  2. Increase freestyle kick to pull ratio.
  3. Work on distance per stroke. When this drill is done properly you get a good sense of how much distance you are getting with each stroke.
  4. Improves timing of freestyle arms.

Here is a quick video of McNear’s swimmers performing the drill at practice recently:

Thanks to Coach McNear for stopping by and dropping this tip and video. You can stay up to date with Lower Moreland Swimming on Instagram and at their official website.

More Freestyle Awesomeness:

Freestyle Kick Drills: Improve Your Flutter Kick. Here are three freestyle kick drills that you can inject into your practice to help develop a more technically proficient and powerful kick.

How to Improve Your Early Vertical Forearm. Canyons’ head coach Coley Stickels shares his favorite freestyle drill for sprinters–the “retraction” drill.

How to Develop an Unstoppable Freestyle Kick. Everything you need to know and more about building a legendary freestyle kick.

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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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