Breaststroke – general information

Breaststroke was the most popular style in Europe until the 1844 London swimming competition. The competition included Native South Americans performing in a style similar to today’s crawl, and they effortlessly won the race. Breaststroke is a comparatively slow swimming style; it requires a great general endurance of the swimmer, especially in sport events. You can find out how to perform breaststroke below.

People swimming in the breaststroke style

This is a light swimming style taking advantage of momentum and the least resistance. It’s the preferred style among women and people swimming for relaxation and leisure purposes.

Breaststroke swimming technique

Breaststroke leg movements:

Breaststroke leg movements mimic frog’s legs.
There are 3 general leg positions:

  1. Bend legs with knees wide apart. Heels touch; feet are flexed, with toes pointing to the sides (left and right).
  2. Extend legs wide apart on the water surface, as if making a side-split.
  3. Gather legs, with knees laying straight on the surface, as if standing on attention. Point the toes to the back.

Breaststroke arm movements:

Extend arms forward, fingers pointing to the remote edge of the pool, palms facing the pool floor. Gather fingers to form a boat-oar shape with hands.

Turn hands to a 45-degree angle with thumbs pointing downwards, as if drawing heavy curtains aside.

Flex elbows lightly and start turning hands and forearms, so that fingers point to the bottom and palms face backwards.

Push water to the back. When the hands reach shoulder level, turn palms to the chest.

Turn the palms to face the bottom, fingers pointing forward. Extend arms forward. Repeat the whole arm cycle.

Breaststroke breathing and head movements:

Upon arm extension, dip the head and breathe out.

Upon stroking, flexing elbows and turning palms to the chest, take the head above water level and breathe in.