Different types of swimming techniques

Are you an avid swimmer a beginner? You must read the following article to understand the swimming techniques to correct yourself or to confirm that you are swimming rightly. Let us differentiate between the swimming technique and swimming strokes or styles. While the words swimming stroke and swimming style are synonymously used, the phrase “swimming technique” tells you the correct procedure for swimming in the particular style. While there are decent numbers of swimming strokes or styles, the swimming techniques may be applied to a particular group of swimming strokes or styles with minor adjustments to a particular stroke or style. In the first place you must understand that there are no universally correct swimming techniques to each of the group of swimming strokes. Subtle adjustments need to be made while learning depending on your comfort level to avoid injuries. Each of the swimming technique is divided into three sub parts namely arm strokes, leg movement and breathing. Go through them carefully.


Swimming (Image source: morgueFile.com)

Freestyle or crawl category – Swimming styles

The freestyle swimming is among the most common and popular stroke among beginners. It is one of the easiest styles to learn.

Freestyle Swimming

Freestyle Swimming (Image source: sxc.hu)

Arm strokes involve movement of arms alternatively akin to a windmill. If you extend your arm full and pull it through the water with right amount of force you can maintain a straight line. When hand moves through the water, you should make a kind of an “S” form and during recuperation your arms are supposed to be cupped and wrist may be set to relax.


The movement of the legs involves kicking them alternatively in a flapping manner with knees bent a bit keeping the feet and the ankle in relaxation. You should never keep your legs stiff else you may end up suffering from cramps. To speed up forward movement your downward movement of the leg for kicking should be optimized and highlighted.


As you start swimming in freestyle by raising one of your hands and shoulders you should move head to a side allowing it prop up above the water and breathe in. Ensure that your head is not taken out of the water, else that will slow down your forward movement. The breathing in can be either one deep breath or multiple short breaths. As you are through with breathing in, slowly move the raised part of the head into the water once again. Exhaling is done through the mouth and nose. The arm stroke should be coordinated with the movement of head alternatively and repeatedly.


Backstroke group – swimming styles
Backstroke Swimming Style

Backstroke Swimming Style (Image source: Wikipedia)

The backstroke group swimming styles are similar to freestyle set except that you are floating in water on your back. The arm strokes are very similar to freestyle but for a minor change. As the hand is taken out of water the thumb should be made to come out first. Again the coordination of leg movement is very similar to freestyle except the upward thrust is given to leg by kicking it upward for maximizing the forward movement. The easiest part of backstroke group of swimming technique is breathing. As the head is always kept up facing sky above water, breathing does not need coordination of arms and legs to perform the back stroke. You can develop your own breathing method suiting your comfort. The two fundamental aspects of swimming in backstroke style include movement of the hands with some equal amount of force to prevent yourself rolling to the sideways. Secondly, you should roll your body alternatively to each of the sides to push your body forward.


Breaststroke group – swimming styles
Breaststroke Swimming

Breaststroke Swimming (Image source: Wikipedia)

The breaststroke swimming style is among the difficult to learn category because of its intricate actions and timings. The breaststroke is normally practiced by professionals. It is not generally advisable for beginners to start from breaststroke swimming. The arms coordination involves keeping them overhead as you initiate your swimming action. Then draw your arms near chest with pulling action over water keeping hands cupped. As you finish moving of your arm towards your chest, come back to the initial position of putting your hands overhead. The legs coordination resembles a frog kicking its rear legs while moving in water. The knees are brought close to chest with legs straight and facing backwards. The legs should be kept close together to release the same kicking water similar to frogs thrusting water to propel themselves. The breathing is associated with the movement of arms. Each cycle of movement of arm is associated with one inhalation and exhalation set. As you finish one arm movement sequence bring head above the water and breathe in. By holding the breathe you should take your head into water and come back once again to complete exhalation and inhalation in the next cycle, as you raise your head.


Butterfly stroke group – swimming styles
Butterfly Stroke

Butterfly Stroke (Image source: Wikipedia)

Similar to breaststroke, butterfly stroke is meant for experienced swimmers. This requires lot of lung power, strength and perfect timing. The both arms are moved simultaneously in cupped condition with pulling action on water keeping palms facing outwardly but moving downward followed by upward movement. The stroke is said to be complete when you swing your arms in a sweeping manner while keeping them above water. With knees together and slightly bent, start the stroke by making them straight with downward thrusting while engaging the feet whipped downwardly. The count of two leg strokes with one arms stroke completes one cycle of breaststroke. The breathing is very similar to breast stroke with one cycle of exhalation and inhalation for each cycle of arms and legs movement.


Side stroke swimming technique

Side stroke is one of the oldest styles and less common today and also not used among the competition forms. Swimming is initiated facing sideways, legs and lower arm extended, upper arm placed clutching the body sideways. This side position is continued until stamina reaches saturation making the swimmer to shift to other side. The head is kept in line with the spine marginally turned upwards. Bend the lower arm at elbow position and sweeping it against water until it reaches chest with palm facing up. Simultaneously, bend the upper arm and slide it forward until it is above the other arm with palms facing each other but the upper arm palm facing down. Then lower arm is placed back to the side of the body allowing upper arm to provide thrust in the same manner as that of lower arm earlier completing the cycle. The legs movement include, asymmetrical kicking like scissors extending the legs and then closing by bending the upper leg knee towards chest with the feet following, while the lower leg knee bent towards buttocks. The cycle starts with inhaling and exhaling while completing one cycle of side stroke and start inhaling again when the palms are together.


Dog Paddle swimming technique

Dog paddle is a very common technique used by the trainers and instructors for afloat while teaching the beginners. In this, the head is kept above water with arms extended in the front and palm facing down. Move the legs quickly up and down and the keep the lower part of the body above water. Simultaneously, you should start dog paddle movement alternatively moving each of the arms forward until is fully extended and then moving backward and downward till it reaches your chest in a circular motion. Breathing is normal at one’s own comfort level as the head is always above the water.

Hope you have understood the swimming technique involved in these classic styles of swimming. Since it can be learnt at any stage of your life and supposed to give complete body exercise including breathing control, swimming is a very popular with all age groups.