The most common swimming strokes or styles are the freestyle stroke, the breaststroke, the backstroke and the butterfly stroke. They are well-known because they are used in swimming competitions.
Let’s have a quick overview of these popular swimming strokes now.
The Freestyle Stroke The Freestyle Stroke or front crawl is often the preferred stroke of seasoned swimmers. It uses alternating arm movements with an above water recovery. The legs execute a flutter kick. Rhythmic breathing is used. Freestyle is fast and efficient. In fact it is the fastest of all swimming strokes. That’s why it is used in freestyle competitions and in the swimming leg of triathlons.
Breaststroke Breaststroke is the most popular swim stroke of all. In breaststroke, both arms execute half-circular arm movements at the same time under water in front of the swimmer. The arm recovery also occurs under water. The legs simultaneously execute a whip kick. Breaststroke is often the first swimming stroke taught to beginners. In fact, many casual swimmers can only swim this stroke. The advantage of breaststroke is that beginners can keep their head above the water. This avoids breathing and orientation issues. More experienced swimmers however submerge their head during the stroke cycle to improve efficiency. Rhythmic breathing is used. Breaststroke is the slowest of the competitive strokes.
Butterfly Stroke The butterfly stroke stands out among the competitive strokes because of it’s unique and spectacular technique. It uses a symmetrical arm stroke with an above water recovery. It also uses a wave-like body undulation and a dolphin kick. Rhythmic breathing is used. Butterfly is the second fastest swim stroke after freestyle. It has a reputation of being hard to learn and is quickly exhausting. But once you have mastered it, swimming a few lengths of butterfly can be a lot of fun!
Backstroke As its name suggests, backstroke is swum on the back. It uses alternating circular arm movements and an above water recovery. The legs execute a flutter kick similar to the one used in freestyle. Backstroke is faster than breaststroke but slower than butterfly. Physicians often prescribe backstroke swimming to people experiencing back problems because it gives the back an excellent workout.