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Steal this Elite Swimmer’s Favorite Freestyle Drill

Peter Vanderkaay uses this drill to practice positioning his hand/arm for the catch, which helps him time the stroke properly.

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Peter Vanderkaay has competed for the United States in three Olympics—2004, 2008, and 2012—winning four medals. He is a five-time NCAA champion, three-time world champion, and the American-record holder in the 500-yard freestyle.

One of Peter’s favorite drills is “catch-up.” He uses the drill to practice positioning his hand/arm for the catch, which helps him time the stroke properly. Having the discipline to position the limb before pressing back on the water is an important factor in developing the front-quadrant timing. The catch-up drill exaggerates this aspect of the stroke. It is a drill that reminds swimmers not to pull back immediately when the hand enters the water, but rather to position the limb overhead for the catch.