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These are drills to help ingrain efficient and effective swim technique. The key for triathlon swimming is efficiency. Regular swimmers do target efficiency but they also desire speed. Speed and efficient form are not always the same.
Efficient swimming is swimming as fast as you can using as little energy as possible. Often regular swimmers just swim so they swim as fast as they can. Some do so with efficient form but many do not. However they get done with their 400 meter freestyle event and they are done. Triathletes are only getting started.
So while you do not want to be doing your swim training or racing as a finger tip drag or with a zipper, efficient form is a high elbow recovery and good shoulder roll 🙂