adult swimmer

5 essential swimming drills for your swim spa

Swimming is not just a sport — it’s also a skill. Or, should we say skills. You have to be able to move through the water while breathing, kicking, and propelling yourself with your arms. When you do it right, it can look like you are gliding. When you are swimming with poor technique, you can be slowing yourself down — and making swimming harder than you want it to be. But there’s a way to become a better swimmer and make your time in the water more enjoyable: swimming drills.

Drills isolate and, sometimes, overemphasize an aspect of swimming so that you can hone in on that perfect technique. Even the best swimmers include drills in their workouts. Taking time to incorporate work on your elbow position and breathing can help you see the improvements you want.

But it’s not always easy. It can take a lot of focus and commitment in the water.

A Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa can make it easier to incorporate swimming drills into your training routine. You do not have to worry about what the guy in the next lane is doing nor cut your session short because a swim class needs the pool. Plus, with convenient access to the endless swimming experience, you can swim more often. Reinforcing proper technique and incorporating drills, you can become a stronger, better swimmer.

swimming in a swim spa

The importance of swimming drills

Swim drills are not just for professional athletes or competitive swimmers. They are an essential component of any swimmer’s training regimen, offering a wide range of benefits, from improved technique to increased endurance and overall fitness. 

By incorporating drills into your training routine, you can become a stronger, more efficient, and more confident swimmer.

Skill improvement

Drills help emphasize a particular movement or element of your stroke. You might incorporate a drill that focuses on your body position, arm movement, or even kick. The goal is to create a mind-muscle connection, teaching your body what that skill feels like. As it becomes more natural, you will be able to develop a feel for that skill when swimming your favorite set. 

These improvements to your skills not only help improve your overall swimming technique but efficiency in the water.

Increased swimming endurance

Do you ever feel the need to catch your breath after swimming a length of the pool? You might feel like you are out of shape and need to build your swimming endurance. While your endurance could use some improvement, it’s not necessarily that you are out of shape. You just need to focus on swimming and breathing efficiently.  

Drills help you focus on the mechanics of swimming, improving how you move through the water.  As you improve your technique, you expend less energy on each stroke, enabling you to maintain a consistent pace for a more extended period.

In addition, many swim drills target specific muscle groups, such as your core, shoulders, and legs. The drills will help you strengthen these muscle groups, and stronger muscles allow you to swim with less effort.

Stroke correction

Drills are a valuable tool for correcting swim strokes because they allow you to break down the complex swimming motion into manageable components.

When you isolate a particular aspect of your stroke, any errors or inefficiencies become more evident. For example, a catch-up drill for freestyle can help you notice if one arm is pulling harder or if your hands are entering the water at different angles.

If you find it challenging to focus on those inefficiencies or weaknesses, you can use an underwater camera like a GoPro to analyze your stroke. You can slow down the footage during playback to see those elements. Alternatively, you could submit the footage for video analysis. 

Another way to correct your stroke is to use swim mirrors on the bottom of the swim spa. Pool mirrors provide you with immediate visual feedback on your swim strokes. You can see your form, body position, and stroke as you swim. This real-time feedback is invaluable for making on-the-spot adjustments.

As you do your drills, you can see just where your hand enters the water or whether your left arm crosses over. You can make immediate changes during the drill and make sure that you are correcting your stroke. 


Your views in the water don’t change often. At the pool, it’s the black line at the bottom of the lane. In a Michael Phelps swim spa, you use the nonslip flooring system to guide your body position. You are often swimming the same strokes and your training distances can be the same week after week. 

While you love swimming, training can feel monotonous. And boredom is never good when you are trying to reach your fitness goals. Incorporating drills into your training adds variety to your routine. Not only do the drills help you make improvements in the water but keep the workouts interesting. 

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Swim drills in a swim spa

Swimming drills are all about you and improving your stroke. But if you are swimming with a group or at a community pool, it can be hard to focus on what you need to do to reach your goals.

A Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa can complement your pool sessions, giving you the controlled environment and privacy you want to work on your technique. In addition, the backyard convenience makes it an effective solution for regular training and improvement.

Spacious-conscious design

Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spas are designed to fit into smaller spaces, making them ideal for home installations. Whether you have a backyard or a dedicated indoor space, a swim spa can easily accommodate your training needs without requiring the space of a traditional swimming pool.

Adjustable current

Swim spas are equipped with adjustable swim currents that create resistance against which you swim. This feature allows you to practice various strokes and swim drills in a controlled environment. You can adjust the current’s intensity to match your skill level, providing an ideal setting for both beginners and experienced swimmers to work on their techniques.

Michael Phelps swim spas have a propulsions system, and the speed settings go from zero to 100. You can swim as fast as 54 seconds per 100-meter pace in a swim spa. 

Endless swimming 

Unlike a traditional swimming pool where you have to turn around when you reach the end, a swim spa provides an endless swimming experience. This continuous swimming space is perfect for practicing drills that require uninterrupted swimming, helping you focus on your form, breathing, and endurance without interruptions.

Controlled environment 

Swim spas offer a controlled environment. You will never head to a swim session and wonder if the lifeguard is on duty or whether you will have to share a lane. Plus, you can set the water at your preferred temperature for training. This controlled setting allows swimmers to concentrate fully on their drills without distractions, making it easier to focus on improving specific aspects of their technique.

Private and comfortable

Drills are integral to any swim program, whether you are a seasoned swimmer or a beginner. However, they are particularly important if you are new to the sport. It can be intimidating, though, to show up to the pool with your paddles, buoy, and snorkel — especially if you don’t feel particularly adept at using them. A swim spa allows you to practice swim drills without worrying about whether others are looking at you. It provides a comfortable and familiar environment, encouraging regular practice and skill development.

Year-round access

No matter where you train, most pools will close for at least a few weeks out of the year. Or, if it is outdoors, it can close for the season. Swim spas are equipped with temperature control features, allowing you to swim throughout the year, regardless of the weather outside. This consistent access ensures that you can maintain your training routines and progress steadily in their swim drills.

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5 swimming drills to improve your front crawl

Swimming drills are a vital component of any swimmer’s training, allowing you to improve technique, endurance, and overall fitness. 

With a Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa, you have a convenient and effective tool to incorporate these drills into your daily routine, regardless of your space limitations at home.

It’s important to always start with a warm-up and focus on one drill at a time. Gradually incorporate a variety of drills into your regular swimming sessions to see continued improvement in your front crawl stroke.

Catch-up drill

This drill helps improve your freestyle (front crawl) technique by isolating each arm’s movement. Swim with one arm while keeping the other arm extended in front. Once the leading arm completes a stroke, switch to the other arm, “catching up” with each stroke.

Fingertip drag drill

Swimming with a high elbow position helps you reduce drag and crossover, as well as  improve propulsion. The fingertip drag drill exaggerates the high elbow position so that you can swim more efficiently and reduce strain on the shoulder.

When working on the fingertip drag drill, your body will be in a streamline position. In the recovery phase of your stroke, lift the elbow up so it is in a high position. Your body will be in a streamline position. Let your fingertips lightly skim the surface of the water before submerging your fingertips and then hand entirely. 

Continue swimming in this manner for several minutes. 

6-3-6 drill

Swim six strokes with an emphasis on long, powerful pulls, then switch to three strokes focusing on a quick and strong kick, and finish with six more powerful strokes.

This drill helps you combine strong propulsion from your arms and legs and teaches you how to transition smoothly between different phases of the stroke.

Be sure to adjust the speed of the swim spa based on the drill. You might need to slow the pace so that you can effectively perform the 6-3-6 drill.

Bilateral breathing drill

Do  you find yourself always breathing to your right while swimming sets? While it’s typical to favor one side, it’s important to learn how to breathe on both sides. When you breathe on one side only, it can create an imbalance in your stroke, causing your body to roll to one side. Bilateral breathing ensures that you alternate between sides, promoting a more symmetrical stroke and better body alignment.

The bilateral breathing drill promotes  balanced muscle development and allows you to breathe comfortably regardless of your breathing side in open water.

Bilateral breathing may feel awkward or challenging at first, but persistence is key. Start by breathing every three strokes, then switch to every five strokes, challenging your breath control.

You can also incorporate the bilateral breathing drill into your training sessions by alternating between regular strokes and drills. For instance, during a set, you can swim one minute with bilateral breathing, followed by a minute with your dominant side, and repeat.

Sighting drill 

It’s easy to swim in a straight line … when you have to stare at one lap after lap. But once you are in open water, you might forget how to swim on the straight and narrow. 

Of course, not all swimmers plan to head to a nearby lake or ocean for an open water session. Still it’s important to practice sighting as it can help you maintain a continuous kick and improve endurance.

To perform the sighting drill, lift your head slightly every few strokes. Keep your eyes focused ahead, and try to minimize head movement. In the swim spa, try to look just above the waterline at the front of the spa. You don’t really want to see beyond the top of the spa into your yard. Rather, think of it as a quick and efficient peek above the water.

You can time your sighting during the glide phase of your stroke, which occurs when your hand is extended forward and your body is streamlined. The goal is to maintain your swim rhythm while still sighting.

Incorporating these drills into your training routine will help you enhance your front crawl technique, increase efficiency, and become a more confident and skilled freestyle swimmer. 

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How to buy a Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa

Do you want to be able to swim, exercise, and relax at home? Having a Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa allows you to swim on your schedule while adding a fun factor to your backyard. You can click here to find out more about the benefits of hydrotherapy and relaxing in a hot tub. Or, contact your local Master Spas retailer to learn more about swim spa ownership. Wondering how much a swim spa costs? You can request a quote here.