Swimming for Triathlon - The 3/3 drill

January 13

The 3/3 Drill

A relaxing drill which places emphasis on the PUSH phase of our stroke. The key is to relax and take our time, assisting us with both body awareness in the water and the acceleration through the PUSH.

This drill is basically single arm freestyle, with the following twists:

1) We breathe each single arm stroke to the side.

2) We do three single arm strokes and breaths to the left side and using the same technique do three on the right side.

3) We do not do flutter kick, but use a butterfly body motion and kick!


Breathing on one side without the flutter kick promotes the break up of the freestyle stroke into three key sections – place, press, push. The major stroke flaw of many age group and professional athletes is the rushing of all three in the stroke into one. The 3/3 drill allows us to break it up with the head and hip action, while giving us time to really concentrate on the most important element in swimming – the acceleration of the stroke through the push phase. This drill is brilliant for setting that up.

Another benefit 3/3 produces is how the non-breathing arm being outstretched very rarely crosses the centre line of the body. It generally holds its position to balance the stroke at the shoulder entry point and stays there. Thus keeping the body aligned. When teaching I rarely have to talk on this point, as even for chronic centre crossover athletes the 3/3 drill tends to straighten them out.


Click here for Coach Brett's explanation and instruction of the 3/3 drill