Workout | The Catch

by | Swim, Workout

To view?the Catch workout, click the bar below. The main set offers a choice of 2, 3 or 4 repeats to adjust total session length.

Workout | The Catch

WARM (400m)

– 4 x 100m mix of strokes

PRE MAIN (1000m)

  • Focus on the catch and power through the pull phase.
  • Catch as far at the front of the stroke as you can.
  • Allow the forearm to drop as soon as you have extended, be patient.
  • Think of collecting water and pulling with the wrist not the hand.
  • Each drill is 2 x 25m drills followed by a 50m smooth swim

2 x through

  • 6 – 3 – 6 with fins x 2. Focus on a long smooth pull
  • 50m smooth
  • Catch Up 25m x 2
  • 50m smooth
  • Left Arm 25m x 2
  • 50m smooth
  • Right Arm 25m x 2
  • 50m smooth
  • Tarzan 25m x 2
  • 50m smooth


MAIN (1000m – 2000m)

2 to 4 x through

  • 300m Pull Smooth @ 70%
  • 100m Swim @ 80 – 85%
  • 2 x 50m strong
  • 60s rest or more (Until well recovered)

Hand Entry +?Catch

One of the most important parts of the stroke and one of my favourite elements to coach.?To some degree I?don’t really care what happens with your arm outside of the water, as long as it does not affect what happens under the water, which means that the Hand Entry and Catch is the first real element of the stroke and one that sets the tone for everything else. Get a good catch and you will be in a decent position to dial in the remainder of the stroke that follows.

Hand entry should be relaxed and shoulder width apart (actual shoulder width, which is probably wider than you think you are doing). You want to extend your arm forward, helped by a nice body roll or rotation, BUT not too far. Trying to get that last extra inch of water in front of you will inevitably lead to over-reaching, causing your elbow to drop and your fingers to point upwards. You need to reach, but ensure your elbow is below your shoulder and your hand below your elbow – meaning your entire arm will have a gentle curve downwards. From here you simply drop your forearm only, creating a paddle with which to pull the water backwards.

Essentially we want?a position where you can actually pull the water backwards rather than push down on it. Ideally there will be very little time between arm extension and your forearm beginning to drop (initiation of the Catch) but you also need to be patient with that forearm drop, let it happen and?don’t pull back before it has. A nice way if thinking about this is ‘pull back with your wrist, not your palm’ – this changes the focus to your forearm as the paddle.

So, hand entry sets the arm up so that it can comfortably drop the forearm and create a great Catch.

Flexibility plays an important roll with the Catch and I think the traditional ‘Keep your elbow high’ mantra is somewhat misleading or at least awkward for many. Keeping your elbow high in the water when you are horizontal intimates that it should be near the surface and that requires a lot of flexibility that many age group?athletes?don’t have. You need your catch to be comfortable and that might mean a deeper hand entry so that your elbow can remain higher than your forearm but, critically, it is not hurting your shoulder.

Practicing your catch on dry land helps understand the process. It also might open you eyes a little to how wide you need to be with your arms, ?how deep your hand entry needs to be and?how far you need to reach in order to remain comfortable.