Do You Swim Like a Camel?

Do You Swim Like a Camel?

By Coach Vicky

Have you ever seen a camel run? They are awkward creatures. Why? Because their front legs and back legs work in tandem. If we were to run like this, we would look like zombies. We humans move our arms in opposition to our legs on land, but what about in the water?

Next time you are in the pool, think about the timing of your kick. If your right arm is spearing at the same time your left leg is kicking down and vice versa, congratulations! You probably learned how to swim when you were a kid and it came to you naturally. If there is a complete disconnect between what your arms and legs are doing, try this drill:

The Mirror Kick Drill:

  1. Use a pull buoy to slow your kick down to a two-beat kick and not sink.
  2. Spear with your Right arm at the same exact time your left leg kicks down.
  3. Spear with your left arm at the same time the right leg kicks down.

If you find this challenging and frustrating beyond belief, welcome to the camel club. You will absolutely hate this drill! However, after many attempts, you will finally get the hang of it if you don’t give up.

If you find this drill impossible, get on dry land and practice doing the bear crawl.

  1. Get in a position that is between plank and down dog.
  2. Right arm and left leg move forward.
  3. Left arm and right leg move forward.
  4. Repeat and make your way across the floor.
  5. Visualize that exercise just before you try the drill again in the water.

The stroke we use in triathlon is called the “Crawl” for a reason. Get the timing right and you will find improvement in efficiency and speed.

Vicky Tate is a USAT certified Triathlon Coach and certified Group Fitness Instructor with Experience Triathlon.   As leaders in the endurance services industry, Coach Vicky and the Experience Triathlon staff help athletes of all ages and abilities achieve success in training, racing and life.  Learn more about Coach Vicky and Experience Triathlon at

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