Trio open water drills 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

explanation:
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

Open water drills – 6- A classic trio – one in front, two together in the back


Three swimmers swim in the classic trio, 2 swimmers sit in the draft of the leading swimmer and are located between the ankle and the waist of the leader, relatively close to him. The difficulty with the exercise is to make sure that we are at the exact same point every time and know how to perform  “sliding”. When one swimmer touches the front swimmer’s legs, sometimes the swimmer moves. We want to keep the same point, between the ankle and knee, or waist line, and when the swimmer moves to one of the sides, to know how to slide with him, without touching his legs.

It is recommended to start the exercise as 30 waistline strokes and then maintain a slightly lower position when we are between the ankle and knee.

Only after each swimmer is able to maintain all positions in the structure (front, right & left) for about 100 strokes, without touching the leading swimmer, try to work on changing pace 50 strokes slow, 20 fast.

Exercise goals:

  1. Know how to do side-drafting in several situations
  2. To know how to swim on a swimmer without looking forward

3. Being a “multi” swimmer – leading, right, left

Open Water drills- drill 7- The “golden spot” in open water- Two in front, one in the back

The golden spot in open water:

Two swimmers swim close to each other, and one swimmer swims between them, between the ankle and the knee lines. The problem with the exercise is that sometimes the two swimmers are really close to each other, and then the back swimmer needs to go back a bit, but still be close to them. This point where a swimmer is between 2 swimmers is called the “golden point” because the swimmer receives a “return wave” from the 2 swimmers, but is not in the swimmer’s leg swirl. There are certain situations that the swimmer can really feel he just needs to glide in order to really surf, and the other swimmers really push him forward almost effortlessly.

Exercise goals:

  1. Know to balance between 2 swimmers without touching their feet
  2. To know how to play between the front swimmer’s waist and ankle lines

3. Feel how to lower strokes between 2 swimmers

Open water drills- drill 8-Trio in a Straight column maintaining a uniform pace


Swim in the column, with the lead swimmer dictating the pace, a comfortable pace and not too strong. The swimmers sitting on his feet try to glide as much as possible and lower their number of strokes. A good classic head lift is every 25 strokes, with the swimmers sitting on the leader’s legs, number 2 and 3, trying not to look forward at all, even if the lead swimmer is swimming in the wrong direction, or, in other words – we swim where we are taken.

In 90% of skilled swimmers cases, it is best to swim on a swimmer’s legs, even if he is wrong, corrects his mistake and returns to straight swimming. It is always better than the lead in terms of swimming effort, body preserving and speed.

After we swim a certain distance as a leader (about 80 strokes) we move on to being number 2 and then number 3. The longer the column, the more the swimmers in the end have to constantly adjust pace and speed.

Exercise goals:

  1. Know how to adapt to a different swimming pace
  2. Know how to swim without lifting your head

3. Feel what it is like to be between 2 swimmers

Open water drills – drill 9- Trio in column, 10 fast strokes, 20 slow

Pace changes when swimming in a column:

We recommend performing this exercise only after we know how to swim in a low-pace column, changing the leading swimmer every time.

Swim in a column about 200 m away (you can swim shorter or longer distances). The leading swimmer counts 20 strokes in V1 very long (65% of ability) and then without warning increases to 85% (V3) for 10 very fast strokes, but not at full force, with strong legwork, and returns again to 20 slow strokes. After completing a distance of 200m or 210 strokes (7 repetitions of 30) return at a rate of 75% without increasing speed. After about 400 m, 200 m away and 200 m back, switch leaders.

 

Exercise goals:

  1. Knowing to be constantly prepared for a change of pace
  2. Know how to lower strokes quickly after swimming fast
  3. Know how to recover quickly while swimming

4. To know how to swim on a swimmer who works hard with his legs

Open water drills – drill 10 – Right-hand gradual trio Knee-ankle grade

explanation:

3 swimmers swim in a right grade, each swimmer swimming between the ankle and the knee of the swimmer in front of him, the swimmer leading the direction is the left swimmer, and the rest of the swimmers are one on the legs of the other to the right.

It is very important for each swimmer to try to keep a distance of 20-40 cm from the swimmer’s leg in front of him.

The challenge in this exercise is to be on the side of a swimmer who zigzags left and right. When we perform a right grade, if the swimmer swims to the right, we can unintentionally touch his legs, and the swimmer on our side might touch our legs, and can interfere with our swimming.

The longer the grade, with more swimmers, the more the back swimmers make lots of left and right adjustments, and actually work a little harder.

 

Exercise goals:

  1. Knowing to slide right and left as part of the swimmer’s move in front of us
  2. Knowing to keep the knee-ankle point while sliding

3. Knowing how to adjust the direction of swimming effortlessly

Open water drills – drill 11- Left-hand gradual trio Knee-ankle grade


explanation:

3 swimmers swim in a left grade, each swimmer swimming between the ankle and the knee of the swimmer in front of him, the swimmer leading the direction is the right swimmer, and the rest of the swimmers are one on the legs of the other to the left.

It is very important for each swimmer to try to keep a distance of 20-40 cm from the swimmer’s leg in front of him.

The challenge in this exercise is to be on the side of a swimmer who zigzags left and right. When we perform a left grade, if the swimmer swims to the left, we can unintentionally touch his legs, and the swimmer on our side might touch our legs, and can interfere with our swimming.

The longer the grade, with more swimmers, the more the back swimmers make lots of left and right adjustments, and actually work a little harder.

 

Exercise goals:

  1. Knowing to slide right and left as part of the swimmer’s move in front of us
  2. Knowing to keep the knee-ankle point while sliding

3. Knowing how to adjust the direction of swimming effortlessly

Open water drills – drill 12-Side Triangle trio


A side triangle is a very interesting position of the back swimmer. On the one hand, he sits on the other swimmer’s side, while on the other he enjoys the front swimmer’s draft and can easily control the overall picture of the swim.

The problem with this exercise is that the second swimmer can easily get behind the leader’s legs, and then there is no field of vision.

Our goal here is to swim close enough, but not too tight, to enjoy all the worlds and not let the second swimmer get in front of us. Just like a traffic jam on the road, we don’t want to be too close, but to maintain our distance and not collide, and we don’t want another vehicle to get in front of us.

 

Exercise goals:

  1. Knowing to enjoy a two-swimmer’s draft
  2. Understanding the locations of several swimmers during a swim

3. Realizing that being third is the best start to the swim

Open water drills – drill 13 – Middle swimmer pushing in on a couple


Two swimmers swim relatively close to each other. The third swimmer tries to get in between the 2 swimmers. The 2 swimmers should swim close enough to block his entrance. Many times in open water swims, towards the finish, a block of swimmers is created, no swimmer want to fall back and even within 500 m no swimmer wants to break forward because he might lose.

If we are the middle swimmer, trying to push in, we try to find the break point, and as soon as it happens to take it quickly and break forward.

One of the problems with this exercise is that if we do get in aggressively, we can get a kick to the head on the one hand, and on the other hand get a yellow card in the event or a competition, and so we must identify the precise moment, make a decision and not think twice.

Exercise goals:

  1. Knowing to identify a breach between two swimmers
  2. Excellent exercise to improve aggressiveness

3. Teaches close swimming for two swimmers and creating a block

Open water drills – drill 14 -A couple in the front, a third in the back changes position all the time


Two swimmers swim in a row at a rate of 75%. The back swimmer plays and moves every few strokes between the right swimmer and the left swimmer.

A classic exercise that can be done is 10+ 5 strokes, which means switching from one swimmer’s legs to the other, 10 strokes on one swimmer, 5 super-long strokes to lower the pulse and then switching to the second swimmer’s legs.

After we feel good enough and manage to move easily without raising the pulse, we can count 50 strokes, with 5 strokes on the right swimmer’s legs and 5 strokes on the left swimmer.

The quick transitions between swimmers are one of the important exercises for an open water swimmer.

Exercise goals:

  1. Know how to skip between swimmers without any effort
  2. Know how to lower your pulse & stroke rate when moving from swimmer to swimmer

3. Being a “cat” – here one minute and there the next

Open water drills – drill 15-Trio in a column, second swimmer becomes first


This exercise has two options:

Exercise 1 – The second swimmer becomes the first, but the third swimmer sticks to the swimmer who performs the bypass, and actually the first becomes the third (bypassed by two swimmers). In this exercise, the third swimmer simply decided that he is not leaving the swimmer in front of him and making the bypass with him.

Exercise 2 – The second and more interesting exercise is that the third swimmer stays third during the bypass, but under no circumstances should he lose the 2 swimmers, something which happens a lot.

In this exercise, the second swimmer moves to be first, the third swimmer chases him during the bypass and sticks to the feet of the swimmer who was first. In fact, the third swimmer decides to stay third throughout the swim.

An interesting exercise that can be done is to switch between the first and second every 30 strokes, while the third remains third. In this exercise everyone has to constantly be aware of the swaps, just like in open water swims.

Exercise goals:

  1. To know how to stay with a swimmer who suddenly starts to bypass
  2. To know how to let the other swimmers do the work and stay third

3. Know how to perform precise bypasses effortlessly

Open water drills – drill 16- Trio in a column, third swimmer becomes first

Three swimmers swim in a straight column. After 30 strokes of the third swimmer (who is the one who counted the strokes) he makes a bypass on the right (next time it is his turn, he will make the bypass from the left). After passing safely, he lowers the pace a little and enters a cardio pace in the lead. Meanwhile, the third swimmer has already started counting 30 strokes, and he is the one to bypass them all.

It is important to understand that there is a tendency for the column to slowly increase its pace.

Therefore, the classic exercise is 50 strokes for each of the swimmers, then bypassing after 40, then 30 and then 20. At 20 strokes it is just like the last round of an open water swim.

Exercise goals:

  1. Knowing to bypass two swimmers at once
  2. Knowing to improve position without raising the pulse too much

3. Know how to get back to normal pace as quickly as possible after bypassing 2 swimmers

Open water drills – drill 17 – A trio in the a column, third swimmer becomes second, squeezing between them

The three swimmers swim in a column. After 20 strokes of the third swimmer, he bypasses the second swimmer, but he prefers not to lead at the moment and so tries to push between the first and second. Although in reality we will not always be allowed to squeeze in, in this exercise we are push in hard, and the second swimmer struggles for 3 strokes and then moves on to being third. After 20 strokes, the swimmer who was pushed back performs a partial bypass and enters between the first and second.

Throughout the entire exercise, the first swimmer leads, maintaining a 75% swimming pace. In this exercise we are mainly working on dealing with a swimmer who at all costs tries to take our place: should we fight him or move back and when he gets tired retake our place?

 

Exercise goals:

  1. Know not to get out of balance when you are pushed
  2. Know to keep your place if need be

3. Know to slide back when get pushed to the side

Open water drills – drill 18 – A third is chasing a couple

A pair of swimmers swim next to each other at a 75% pace. A third swimmer swims in the opposite direction about 5 strokes, changes swimming direction and starts a chase at a relatively fast pace. Once he gets to the swimmers, he lowers the pace for 5 extra-long strokes and then return to normal swimming pace for another 20 strokes lowering the pulse, the third swimmer again turns and swims in the opposite direction, but this time 10 slow strokes, changes direction and starts the chase again until he reaches the swimmers. As soon as he arrives, strokes and pulse are immediately lowered for 5 strokes, then switch roles.

Exercise goals:

  1. To know how to chase the pack that gets away
  2. Know how to immediately lower strokes after a chase

3. To know how to make a long chase without burning the rest of the swim

Open water drills – drill 19- 3 bothers 2 in the ankle and pulls on 1’s legs

Two swimmers swim next to each other at a uniform pace. The third swimmer swims on the legs of both swimmers, and every 10 strokes touches the ankle and legs of a different swimmer: the first time (after 10 strokes) a light touch, the second time (after another 10 strokes) dropping the heel and real obstruction of movement, and after another 10 strokes (30 strokes total) grabbing of the heel, pulling back with a smile and continuing to swim next to one of the swimmers.

After 30 strokes, the back swimmer switches place with one of the front swimmers.

It is important to note that in real life we will not harass other swimmers, won’t grab their legs or drawn them in a swim, but we must learn what it feels when someone leans on us while swimming and bothers us from behind.

One of the things that annoys a swimmer most, is being touched on the feet. In open water one must know how to deal with this without losing balancing.

Exercise goals:

  1. An experience – harassing one another while swimming
  2. Laugh while pulling a swimmer’s legs

3. Knowing to deal with swimmers who touch our feet without getting out of balance

Open water drills – drill 20- A third drowns one of the lead swimmers

Two swimmers swim next to each other. The third swimmer swims between the two front swimmers. After 30 long strokes close to one of the swimmers’ ankles, the third swimmer grabs his ankle, pulls back until the swimmer’s shoulders reach him, drowns the swimmer, passes him with a smile, and continues at pace next to the front swimmer. The drowned swimmer regains his balance, smiles, counts 30 strokes, grabs an ankle and drowns one of the swimmers.

It is important to note that we will never grab an ankle or drown in life, but we can certainly encounter a situation where we find ourselves under another swimmer. It’s important to know not to lose control, regain balance and keep on swimming.

One thing is certain – you never retaliate!

Exercise goals:

  1. Fun – a routine breaking exercise
  2. Improve aggressiveness and deal with aggressiveness

3. Knowing not to get out of balance when we are being touched or drowned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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