How to Improve Your Kick with the Mesa Aquatic Club

Want to improve you kick? Here is a workout and a kicking drill from Paul Smith, owner and director of coaching of the Mesa Aquatics Club one of the top age group and masters programs in the country and hosts of the annual Mesa Grand Prix.

Paul Smith is a former competitive swimmer, Olympic Trials qualifier, and held the 100 yard butterfly record at the University of California-Santa Barbara (Go Gauchos!) for nearly 20 years in a time of 48.86.

Since taking over at MAC in 2009 as owner and director of coaching the club has grown to nearly 500 swimmers (plus 200 Masters swimmers), and is recognized as one of the top programs in Arizona.

Today he dropped by to share a swim set and a drill both designed to help you develop a truly legendary kick.

Take it away Paul…

Kicking Fun with the Mesa Aquatic Club

At Mesa Aquatic Club that use a variety of different types of kick sets. They include:

  1. Power kick = hard/fast kicks (no fins) underwater till a breath needed then swim easy to wall.
  2. Shooters = tempo kicking underwater for distance, OK with fins.
  3. Alignment Kicking = no board, kicking in the same position as the stroke you would swim.
  4. Social kicking.
  5. Vertical kicking.
  6. Pushbacks: wall kick w/push away & kick back and/or turn into fast breakout (video demonstration of this drill at the bottom of the post).

MAC focuses on:

  • Emphasis Technique
  • Emphasis Speed
  • Emphasis mindful/quality swimming over yardage
  • We train all 5 strokes (kicking being the 5th stroke)

We do at least one kick set every practice and we try to always “add on” a fast 25, 50 or 100 at the end of a fast swim set.

Warm up:

4 x 75’s @ :10 rest (25 drill, 25 swim 25 “alignment” kick w/snorkel for free, fly and breast)

8 x 50’s @ 1:00 @ 1:00 (odds swim/build, evens power kick to 15m)

4 x (4 x 25’s “variable” @ :40): Rds 1-3 swim, Rd 4 kick no fins

Main #1:

4 x (3 x 75’s): 1st 75 kick @ 1:00, 2nd 75 swim/non-free @ :50, 3rd 75 swim free

Rest :30 then 100 kick for time (no board)

Swim or pull easy 300 w/snorkel

Main #2:

4 x (3 x 25’s) w/fins and paddles: 1st 25 @ :40, 2nd 25 @ :30, 3rd 25 @:20 (3-5 dolphin kicks underwater off all walls)

Rest :30 then 50 kick for time (board optional, fins OK)

Swim or pull easy 300 w/snorkel

10 minute social kick w/board (fins optional)

The Pushback Kicking Drill

As far as kicking drills go, this is a great one. You can vary the intensity as high as you want, while really focusing on keeping  a high, tight body position in the water.

Haley Gordon, former University of Iowa swimmer and current MAC age group coach, masters coach and USMS Adult Learn to Swim Instructor, demonstrates it in the video below:


A big thank you to Paul and the folks over at MAC for dropping some knowledge for the community. You can stay up to date with MAC on Twitter and at their official website.

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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 …

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