Types of Strokes

Types of Swimming Strokes

Butterfly

The butterfly (colloquially among swimmers known as fly) is a swimming stroke swum on the breast, with both arms moving simultaneously, accompanied by the butterfly kick (also known as the "dolphin kick"). While other styles like the breaststroke, freestyle, or backstroke can be swum adequately by beginners, the butterfly is a more difficult stroke that requires good technique as well as strong muscles. It is the newest swimming style swum in competition, first swum in 1933 and originating out of breaststroke.

Technique

The butterfly technique with the dolphin kick consists of synchronous arm movement with a synchronous leg kick. Good technique is crucial to swim this style effectively. The wave-like body movement is also very significant, as this is the key to easy synchronous over-water recovery and breathing.

In the initial position, the swimmer lies on the breast, the arms are stretched to the front, and the legs are extended to the back.

Backstroke

The backstroke, also sometimes called the back crawl or the upside-down freestyle, is one of the four swimming styles regulated by FINA, and the only regulated style swum on the back. This has the advantage of easy breathing, but the disadvantage of swimmers not being able to see where they are going.

It is also the only competition swimming style that has a different start. The swimming style is similar to an upside down front crawl. Both backstroke and front crawl are long-axis strokes. In Individual medley backstroke is the second style swum; in the team medley it is the first style swum.

Technique

In the initial position, the swimmer lies flat on the back; arms stretched with extended fingertips, and legs extended backwards.

Breaststroke

The breaststroke is a swimming style in which the swimmer is on his or her chest and the torso does not rotate. It is the most popular recreational style due to its stability and the ability to keep the head out of the water a large portion of the time. In most swimming classes, beginners learn either the breaststroke or the front crawl first.

Since the breaststroke is swam with the eyes almost always above water, it is important in lifesaving, as it allows the rescuer to approach the victim without losing sight of them. However, in competitive swimming, the breaststroke is the most difficult stroke, requiring comparable endurance and leg strength to other strokes.

Some people refer to breaststroke as the "frog" stroke, for your body moves like a frog swimming in the water. The stroke itself is the slowest of any competitive strokes and thought to be the oldest of all swimming strokes.

Technique

The breaststroke starts with the swimmer lying in the water face down, arms extended straight forward and legs extended straight to the back.

Freestyle

Freestyle is a category of swimming competition, defined by the rules of the International Swimming Federation (FINA), in which competitors are subject to only limited restrictions on their swimming stroke. (In other words, they have great freedom with respect to their swimming style.)

The stroke used almost universally in freestyle races is the front crawl, as this style is generally the fastest. This swim style is also the most common and has longer distances, such as 1500M or the 1650 yard swim. For this reason, the term freestyle is sometimes used as a synonym for front crawl.

Technique

The most common technique for freestyle is front crawl. During a race, the competitor would circle arms forward, alternating arms, and kick their feet up and down about a foot apart (also known as flutter kick). Although competitors can do whatever they please during the freestyle stroke, it is not common to see someone doing dog paddle, or sidestroke during a race or competition.

During the Olympic Games, front crawl is swum almost exclusively during freestyle. Some of the few rules are that swimmers must touch the end of the pool during each length and cannot push off the bottom or hang on the wall or pull on the lane lines during the course of the race. As with all competitive events, false starts are not allowed.