Backstroke is also called back crawl. This is one of the four official swimming styles – breaststroke, crawl, butterfly stroke and backstroke, controlled by FINA (the International Swimming Association). It is also the only controlled swimming style performed in the back position.
Since it is performed swimming on the back, the swimmer cannot see the direction but for compensation the breathing is quite eased out. The movements are similar to the ones in the crawl style but swimmers perform on their back, hence the movements are in the opposite direction to the crawl.
Because of the back position, this style develops other muscles in the upper body than the other three styles. In medium distance swimming competitions backstroke swimmers hit approximately the same speed as butterfly swimmers.
For me backstroke swimmers are dreamers, since their sight is always aimed towards the sky. I’d also say free-spirited people prefer swimming on their back.
How to swim backstroke?
Backstroke leg movements:
Backstroke leg movements are similar to crawl leg movements: like a ballerina tip-toeing in small steps. The only difference is the body lies backwards on the water surface.
Backstroke arm movements:
Lift the arm straight and relaxed in the air. When the arm is perpendicular to the body, rotate the hand so that the little finger goes on top. The pinkie is the first to go in the water. Rotate the hand slightly, so that the palm opposes the moving direction, flex the elbow slightly and push the surrounding water.
Finally, place the arm parallel to the body, with palm facing the tight.
The movement resembles bird’s wings, forcing air upon flying off to gain height.
As I’ve already mentioned, the breathing is quite eased out since the nose and the mouth are almost constantly above water, thanks to the specific body position. The swimmer inhales through the mouth when moving one arm and exhales through the nose and mouth when moving the other arm.