Swimming Freestyle – Slide-Front-Slide Drill

This drill to learn swimming freestyle lets you practice rolling from side to side, with an intermediary prone position. You also have to pay attention to your balance and have to keep your body tall and extended in the water.

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Mastering this drill allows you to have a more streamlined position while swimming freestyle.

Note: This drill belongs to an older sequence of swimming drills to learn the freestyle stroke. Please consult the Learn How To Swim The Freestyle Stroke article to read about our current sequence of swimming drills.

Drill Instructions

  • Start to glide on your side as you practiced in the previous slide on your side freestyle drill.
  • When you feel perfectly balanced, slide one of your hands forward across your side, as if pulling up a zipper.
  • When your hand is at the level of your head, roll downward in a prone position, so that you are now looking at the bottom of the pool.
  • At the same time pierce the water with your recovering hand and extend your arm forward under water.
  • When your recovering arm is fully extended, place one hand on top of the other. You are now in the same position as in the balancing with extended arms freestyle stroke drill.
  • Take a few moments to adjust your balance. Your head should be aligned with your spine, face turned downward. You are applying downward pressure on your head and chest so that your hips and legs feel light and are close to the water surface.
  • When you feel balanced, sweep your other arm backward in the water.
  • Roll on the side of the inactive arm when your backward sweeping hand moves past your head.
  • Simultaneously roll your head upward so that you find yourself floating in the initial position but on your other side.
  • Adjust your balance, take a few breaths, then roll back toward the initial side, and so on.


Once you have mastered this swimming drill, you should be able to roll from side to side while keeping your balance and maintaining a tall and streamlined shape in the water. This is another step towards an efficient freestyle swimming technique.

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