Whirlpool Drill

Whirlpool Drill

Whirlpool Drill is one of my very favorite swimming drills – yet when I’ve shown or told people about it, I’ve been surprised how few have heard of it. It’s so much fun it almost seems like it shouldn’t be a drill. So here I am, sharing the wealth.

The other day I was doing a filming session off Santa Cruz Island (more on that later), and Whirlpool Drill was accidentally caught on tape! I was treading water, talking to one of the filmmakers, and a little whirlpool started to form near one of my hands. I got my interlocutor’s attention and made the whirlpool bigger for a few seconds while he kept the GoPro running. At one point, a stray piece of kelp was drawn into the vortex. Here’s the clip:

Basically, you scull your hand back and forth a few inches under water – rapidly, trying to maintain constant pressure against the water. If you’re doing it right, you’ll make a whirlpool! Bonus points for big and/or long-lasting whirlpools. Extra bonus points for keeping two of them going – both hands, at the same time!

Whirlpool Drill is basically a more focused, intense form of the various sculling drills, which are intended to reinforce a solid catch and “feel for the water.”

How big is your whirlpool?

5 Responses to “Whirlpool Drill”

  1. John White


    Thanks for reminding me of this! We used to do this at swim team… you’re a lot better at it than anyone I knew though!

  2. James W.


    This showed me what a miserable failure I was at this! lol! I used to get tiny ones and think that was “it” but now I am going to have to try this today. Thanks!

  3. Chicken O'Sea


    Hey I tried this and love it. I always do some sculling each workout and this is a fun variation


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