Why do this drill?
Catch up is one of the most important drills in a swimmers armoury. It’s primary use is to develop a good body position in the water – you have to be streamlined to do this drill well! This drill develops control and balance and in addition it slows down a swimmers stroke so that more attention can be given to other areas. For example, catch up is suggested as a drill to improve your catch phase and this is because you will slow your stroke down, be in control and can focus on the precise movement that is a good catch. So, catch up is used not only for body position but also to improve or correct the catch phase, the pull phase and hand entry.
How to do this drill
Begin the drill with both arms extended in line with your shoulders, your body correctly aligned, hips and legs high in the water, the legs performing a gentle flutter kick to assist with balance. Take a stroke with the right arm and as you do so rotate your body. Perform the right hand entry with hand entering in line with shoulder, roll back to a flat position and extend the right arm and shoulder forward under the water. Wait until the right hand is alongside the still extended left hand before you begin your next stroke with the left arm. Take the stroke with the left arm and wait until the left hand is alongside the right before taking the next stroke with the right arm. It is sometimes useful to touch thumbs as the arms are alongside each other. This is a useful cue that can help as you are learning this drill. But resist laying your hand on top of the other as this can often lead to crossing or can reinforce crossing during your hand entry.