Have you ever noticed how the faster boats are the longer boats (think a rowing team’s racing shell versus a fisherman’s rowboat)?
The same physics that apply to building a fast racing boat apply to the human body moving through the water. The catch-up drill will help you focus on maintaining a long body in the water.
To do the drill, maintain your non-stroking arm in front of you in its initial extended position. Then wait until the stroking arm “catches up” with your extended arm before taking your next stroke.
This effectively slows down your swimming, and allows you to focus on stroking with one arm at a time. But more importantly, it shifts your center of gravity forward a bit to give you a more balanced body position. In addition, it gives you a longer profile more like a racing shell than a barge.
For swimmers who have a tendency to rush through the initial extension phase, aim for a ¾ catch-up while swimming at your aerobic base pace to ingrain this longer body position into your new habits.