Practice + Pancakes: IU Breaststroke Clinic

SwimSwam wants to give you an inside look at what a normal day-in-the-life looks like for any given swimmer, and how that differs from team to team or city to city. We send our head of production, Coleman Hodges, to be a fly on the wall at practice, then relay what he discovered back to you over pancakes. Or at least breakfast.

We all saw how the Indiana Hoosiers breaststroke crew looked at the Pro Swim in Bloomington. If you didn’t… you should probably go look. Sure, a group of them were rested and shaved. However, 59.2 in the 100 and a lifetime best in the 200 for Cody Miller, as well as 2:20 in the 200 for Annie Lazor (making her the 9th fastest performer IN HISTORY), means one thing. IU breaststroke is doing something right.

We went to go film their practice the day after the meet, admittedly expecting to get more of a laid back, recovery type of practice. Lucky for us, Indiana doesn’t really do “that kind of thing”. Sure, they did have a more technique focused practice. Also of note, they still hit 6k. The technique-centric workout that we got to see was all about breaststroke; more specifically, it was all about all the parts of breaststroke. You’ll see Ray break down a lot of components of the stroke in the video, but some quick highlights include:

  • An explanation of the 3 quadrants in breaststroke, and where to be in which quadrant when
  • Ray explaining Jozsef Nagy’s influence on his style of breaststroke coaching; specifically, how Nagy would have his swimmers do a breaststroke pull set, followed by a breaststroke kick set, then repeat. At IU, they call that “combo”ing
  • Detail on the importance of the “tube” and the “band” when pulling breaststroke
  • Cody Miller tries out breaststroke fins
  • Ian Finnerty swimming a 300 butterfly… in well under 3:00

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I love you Coleman. I swear when I wake up and a P&P video is up, that’s how I start those mornings. Gets the juices flowing and the appetite humming!


It’s the best feeling

Coach Dave

I like the updated version of Karla drill in this video. Karla Wilson swam at Auburn in the early 90’s and it was a drill that was used by Coach Marsh and the breaststrokers for a lot of years following her time there. So Karla was actually a woman and not “some guy named Carla…” Regardless, it’s a great drill demonstrated very well in this video. Now I want breakfast.

Ol’ Longhorn

Having trouble with math. 3 quadrants? Where’s the fourth?


The fourth quadrant is the mind- the ability for the breaststroker to connect the other three quadrants.

Ol' Longhorn

So wait. Your head is supposed to be in the first quadrant but your mind is supposed to be in the fourth? I’m even more confused. No wonder I suck at breaststroke.


Exactly what i was thinking when he was explaining the 3 quadrants?!?!?


Took me waaayy too long to figure out what you meant

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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