The Singapore Drill: Flo Manaudou’s Favorite Freestyle Drill

Florent Manaudou is one of the fastest swimmers on the planet. He won the 50-meter freestyle at the London Olympics in 2012 and followed that up with a silver medal at the Rio Olympics.

The 6’5″ Frenchman is a monster in the water and came out of relatively nowhere in 2011-2012 to become a pivotal part of a powerful French team that has consistently placed swimmers on the podium in the sprint events internationally.

Over the past couple of years, Manaudou has been training with coach James Gibson and the Energy Standard Elite Team, based primarily out of the beautiful Gloria Sports Arena in Antalya, Turkey.

Gibson has filmed and posted videos of a lot of his swimmers performing workouts and drills (including Sarah Sjostrom doing a variety of her favorite butterfly drills here), and recently he posted a video of the French sprint star doing one of his favorite freestyle drills, the Singapore Drill.

Here is a breakdown of this drill, including pointers for doing it properly.

The Singapore Freestyle Drill

Manaudou, and the CN Maersille Swim Team, were in Singapore preparing for the 2011 World Championships. They saw some young children performing the drill, and copied it, seeing the value in adding it to their repertoire of freestyle drills.

The drill itself is very simple, but as Gibson notes, “difficult to master.”

How to Do It:

Swim freestyle with one arm normal freestyle, the other as dog paddle.

The drill performs several important functions:

  • Target the high elbow catch. Most of the power in the pull comes from this phase. The drill, particularly during the dog paddle stroke, reinforces a high elbow early in the catch. “Work the high elbow catch with the hands being at the surface of the water.”
  • Increase body awareness in the water. Swimming fast is all about body position. This drill encourages swimmers to focus on their position in the water. “Coordination, recovering with one arm underwater can feel strange but it makes the athlete really think about what they are doing and how their body is moving.”
  • Improved body-line and hand position. Not crossing the arms over in the front of the stroke and always returning to the ‘eleven’ neutral position.

Below is a video of Manaudou performing the drill. Note that he is wearing a swimmer’s snorkel and fins to further straighten out his body position.

*** Props to James Gibson, who filmed Manaudou performing the drill and allowed us to share this here. Follow him on Instagram–he posts tons of great content for swimmers and swimming coaches.


Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer. He’s the publisher of YourSwimBook, a ten-month log book for competitive swimmers.

Conquer the Pool Mental Training Book for SwimmersHe’s also the author of the recently published mental training workbook for competitive swimmers, Conquer the Pool: The Swimmer’s Ultimate Guide to a High Performance Mindset.

It combines sport psychology research, worksheets, and anecdotes and examples of Olympians past and present to give swimmers everything they need to conquer the mental side of the sport.

Ready to take your mindset to the next level?

Click here to learn more about Conquer the Pool.

COACHES: Yuppers–we do team orders of “Conquer the Pool” which include a team discount as well as complimentary branding (your club logo on the cover of the book) at no additional charge.

Want more details? Click here for a free estimate on a team order of CTP.

Leave a Reply

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

About Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy has been involved in competitive swimming for most of his life. Starting off at the age of 6 he was thrown in the water at the local pool for swim lessons and since then has never wanted to get out. A nationally top ranked age grouper as both a …

Read More »