Trio Open Water drill for swimmers & coaches

3 swimmers open water drills

Trios in open water are an amazing combination of a wide variety of elements: group work, speed, drafting, safety and more…
* In each exercise we will talk about the benefit, the disadvantage and when we use that particular exercise
* For each exercise we will explain how to do it, give a sample exercise and exercise goals

Drill 1 – open water trio- Trio at a steady pace

Swim at the same pace as the central swimmer

Three swimmers swim at a uniform pace. The central swimmer leads the pace of the swimmers and looks at the swim direction. The swimmers on the side look at the swimmer and try to swim as close to him as possible without interrupting him, even if the swimmer is zigzagging and not swimming straight. Breathing to the central swimmer can be combined with breathing every 2, with looking front or without.
** There is no such situation at sea, especially in a stormy sea, that a swimmer swims perfectly straight. There are currents, technique , waves and sun, which take the swimmer sideways, and so:
Exercise goals:
1. Teach the swimmers to move and slide with the central swimmer
2. Know how to neutralize the thought as much as possible, move and occasionally adjust the swim direction without thinking
3. Knowing to enjoy long distance swimming at a uniform pace

Drill 2 –open water trio –One swimmer passes the other swimmers by a body length.

We start with a 3 swimmers formation, all lined up. After going into a swimming pace and feeling that swimming is at a uniform rate (about 80 strokes) and not changing, the right swimmer swims a little faster, passing by a body length the other swimmers. It is very important at this point not to let him get away, and to keep the ankle line (let him pass us, but not by too much). After about 10 seconds the 2 swimmers recognize that he is slightly ahead and narrow the gap, 10 strokes together and then the central swimmer moves forward, everybody closes the gaps and finally the left swimmer moves forward. Once everyone has increased speed and closed the gap, swim for a minute at uniform pace and line.

The pace changes are the name of the game.

Exercise goals:

  1. Identify the leader pace change as quickly as possible
  2. Let the swimmer take the lead but nothing more
  3. Knowing to swim at a variable pace

4. To be aware of all the swimmers in the team at all times


Drill 3- Open water trio – A Sandwich Trio at a steady pace

Swim in a trio at uniform pace. The two outward swimmers start to narrow the gap between them and are actually causing the main swimmer to struggle. The main swimmer should feel what it’s like to be a “tomato” inside a sandwich, but not “ketchup”.

During the exercise, there are swimmers who, when crushed, begin to struggle, beat, fight and drown others. Beyond the fact that drowning others is a disqualification, the practice is amazing to the outward swimmers, but especially to the main swimmer.

In open water swims it happens many times that we follow a swimmer and have other swimmers on both sides crushing us and causing us as a swimmer to lose energy, get irritated and even stop the swim.

A swimmer taken off his balance elevates his pulse, shortens his strokes and can even stop the swim.

Exercise goals:

  1. Knowing to swim very close to a swimmer
  2. Know not to get out of balance when you get cut, just like on the road

3. Knowing to keep a long glide and lower the pulse when we get “sandwiched”

Drill 4 Open water trio- One swimmer trying to escape from the pack

Swim in one line, the right  swimmer runs off to the right and starts swimming fast, and the other swimmers have to respond quickly and catch up.

The classic exercise is to swim 50 strokes (right or left swimmer each in turn break away), the leader does 15 very fast strokes, kicking strongly with his legs and returns to steady pace, the others let him break for 15 strokes and then catch up with full force. It is clear that when there is a breach (fast swimming from the sidelines) we will respond, quickly, and the swimmer will not be allowed to get much farther, but in this exercise we are working on identifying and chasing.

As soon as we chased the leader and got back to formation, we immediately lengthen our strokes as much as possible to lower the pulse and return to steady pace.

Exercise goals:

  1. Identify the breach and know how to make a quick decision – chase or not?
  2. Knowing to chase a swimmer who got away

3. Knowing to lower our pulse quickly after a chase

Drill 5 -Open water trio- A snake column trio – the first one leads in all directions.

The first swimmer swims at a slow pace, with the rest of the swimmer keeping a distance of 20 cm from each other’s legs. Throughout the swim we will try to feel how close we are to the swimmer in front of us, and on the other hand we will try to see the swimmer leading, where he swims, when he makes a slight or sharp turn.

The snake swim requires us to constantly change the length of our strokes, from short to long. It requires rapid change of direction, and especially controlled swimming without touching the swimmer’s legs in front of us.

Once you feel the snake is working well, you can swim 10 strokes fast (not too fast) and then 20 slow strokes. On the one hand, we want to keep the structure and on the other to cause a change in the pace of the swim and especially the pace of the strokes.

Exercise goals:

  1. Excellent exercise for transitions and position changes
  2. A fun exercise that can be done for all levels of swimming as a group

3. Teaches us to watch and quickly adjust the swim direction

More drills soon ….. ( 20 – 3 swimmers open water drills)

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