Improve your feel for the water as well as your deep-water starts with this basic but essential drill for swimmers of all abilities.

Skull swim


A high elbow is essential to front crawl and this drill is a good opportunity to practice. You need to keep your elbows high, pointing to the surface.


The slow speed of the skull swim makes it ideal for finding a good head position for front crawl. Keep your eyes below the surface, turning your head to breathe gently when you need to.


Kicking is cheating in this drill. Kick very gently from the hip or, better still, use a pull buoy between your legs so they stay afloat without you having to think about it.


To keep your horizontal body position during this drill, try to keep your core in but your body relaxed. If you start to tense up you’ll most likely find you flounder and your legs sink.


The sculling action needs to be found in the water: you are aiming to feel resistance with a lightly cupped hand and tilted wrists, waving in a motion as though rolling a basketball.

There’s more swimming instruction in our training section.