One Skill A Swimmer MUST Master

Are you a Floater or a Sinker?

It may seem obvious, but you must teach your swimmers to float. To some swimmers this skill comes naturally. I am a person who can naturally float. Even upside down I can float close to my knees. But you will have swimmers that cannot float at all and they will always work harder then floaters.

Now, I know I said you need to teach your swimmers to float, but really you cannot make someone learn how to float, you need to expose them to multiple drills until they can feel how to float.

These drills work for even experienced swimmers.

Horizontal Floating Drills:
Relaxed Float (dead man) to a Star Float.

I like to use this a test for my swimmers. Can they float in this position? IF Yes then they will be able to float in more challenging situations.

Common Error:

Feet sinking.


  • Are looking at the bottom of the pool.
  • Are stretching the arms to one side and the legs to the other. Feel like they are being stretched.
  • Have a neutral spine.
  • Are relaxed.

Once this skill is mastered move onto

The Horizontal Float

The same corrections apply to this float.

Challenge Drill:

For more of a challenge, play around with the placement of the arms. Put one arm overhead and the other by the side. Then switch arms.

Vertical Floating Drills:
Head Out Pencil

Common error:

Arching through the hips.

Short back of the neck.


  • Are looking directly across the pool.
  • Are stretching the head to the ceiling and the toes to the bottom. Feel like they are being stretched.
  • Have a neutral spine.
  • Have a long neck.

Challenge Drill:

Put the arms above the head.

Watch out for all the same corrections as the easy version.

T- Float

This is similar to a pencil float except upside down with the arms out the side to make a T.

Common errors:

Falling on the face. (Feet are forward and body is back)

Falling on the back. (Feet are back and body is forward)


In both errors make sure the spine is neutral. Feel like you were punched in the abs.

When falling either direction have the swimmers to self-correct. When a swimmer is falling on there face their there arms will behind them. When they are falling on their back their hands will be in front of their face. Those should all be cues that the need to adjust.

Challenge Drill:

Try other positions like bent knee or fishtail.

Never underestimate the power of floating. This is an obvious skill needed for new swimmers, but you would be surprised at how many high-level swimmers lack the ability to float. 


Test your swimmers and let me know how your swimmers do.

Author Avatar: Vanessa



Yours in Synchro,

Leave a Comment

Top 4 Olympic Qualifier Tech Teams 2016

Get your FREE DOWNLOAD today!

Includes all pattern changes and swimmer positions.