Updated: Apr 20

One of the most important drills you can do when swimming freestyle is Swordfish Kick and at Propulsion Swimming we believe this should be practiced in every swimming training session.

How to do it

There's two ways you can do Swordfish. The first one is with your face out the water always being able to breathe to the side. This method is usually better for younger swimmers who are learning how to kick on their side ready for when they progress on to freestyle breathing. Doing it this way emphasizes the need to keep a good body position and strong leg kick, so that the swimmer can keep breathing all of the time. If the hips are too low or the leg kick isn't strong enough, you will find breathing very hard to do especially if your face goes under the water.

The other way you can do Swordfish is with your face in the water looking towards the pool floor. This is the way that most replicates the actual freestyle stroke. Obviously you need to breath to the side at some point so you can simply turn your head to the side, to get that much-needed breath in. The only things that should be moving during this drill are your legs are kicking and your head for breathing, everything else should be staying still.


This freestyle drill is fantastic for improving your freestyle stroke technique by concentrating on your body position, leg kick, body rotation and helps greatly with breathing technique.

The main aim of swordfish is to maintain a high body position by keeping your hips as close to the water surface as possible whilst having a constant and strong a six beat leg kick throughout. Swordfish gets you used to the feeling of being on your side which is how you breath on freestyle.

Common Faults

The most common fault is when the leading arm drops while breathing. It shows that the body position is too low in the water and the leg kick may not be up to the standard it needs to be. Try to make sure you are kicking from your hips rather than your knees and relax your ankles as best as you can.

Another common fault is low hips due to your head being too high in the water. If you imagine a seesaw. If one end goes up too high, the other end will go too low. This is the same with your body in swimming. Lifting your head too high will cause your legs to sink creating a lot of drag and making the drill a lot harder to do. Try to keep the water line across the middle of the head so your head isn't too high or too low.

Check out this drill in full in the video below!!

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