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Long Axis Strokes



Backstroke will always have a high and straight arm recovery, with the pinky finger being the first to enter the water. A lot of the underwater and turn technique is the same as freestyle, though with the turnover portion being unique to backstroke. You can only have at most one arm recovery on your front to initiate the backstroke turn, and you must initiate the turn before that hand finishes the entire pull without pause/hesitation.


Interview with Kaylee McKeown on Backstroke catch/pull and hypermobility: 



Freestyle is actually a very complex stroke and will look very different depending on the swimmer's strength/conditioning, flexibility, and their race distance. A 50M freestyle race will look a lot different than a mile, or even a 200M event. The kick is also critical to any stroke, and freestyle is no exception. For most swimmers, there will be a 4 or 6 beat kick that accompanies each arm pull. With sprinter stroke rates around 125-135 strokes per minute, that means swimmers will have anywhere between 500-810 kicks per minute during a race!


David Popovici is the current 100M freestyle world record holder and he sits down in an interview and describes his favorite drill:


Link to an article with splits for Katie Ledecky's 1650 record: [link here]


This 1500m race shows that freestyle has lots of different variations depending on distance. Notice the shortened underwaters, slower stroke rate, and the breathing patterns of the top level distance swimmers:


Compare that above video to the top level sprinters, where these guys have faster strokes, straighter arm recoveries, and longer underwaters:


Short Axis Strokes




It's important to note that the breastroke is the slowest of the four competitive strokes because it introduces the most drag. Most of breastroke is all about getting out of that increased drag phase where the swimmer is reseting their stroke and taking a breath. The more time you spend in the glide/streamline position, the more efficient your stroke will be.


Adam Peaty is the fastest sprint breastroker out there and he has a very powerful technique focused around a high stroke rate:




Below is another video of Dressel, but this time swimming butterfly:

Competitive Dives

Brad Tandy has one of the best dives out there, utilizing a lot of coupling and powerfully exagerated movements:

Here is a video that goes into more details about his dive and how to try it out yourself:


There are many other types of dives, just as there are different ways to swim. Play around with these and find what style works best for you!


Here is a slowed down video of Florent Manaudou's dive; a more traditional, weight on the front style:


Competitive Turns


This video has a great breakdown of how to do the crossover turn for an IM: