Breaststroke isn’t necessarily known for its speed, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fast! Like most sports, success in swimming is derived from a well-learned and applied technique. If your stroke is off, the slightest tweak can make a world of difference. If you want to kick your breaststroke up a notch (literally!) follow these three tips to improve your technique and your speed.
Nail Your Timing and Tempo
The breaststroke is all about timing. Pull, breathe, kick, stretch--these four motions should flow one right into the next to complete your breaststroke. Repeat the moves in your head as you swim, setting the tempo as you do so. Aim for the tempo you hope to achieve and match your stroke to that speed. But be sure not to sacrifice technique just to move faster. Pull your arms into your breath, then kick out into your stretch, or streamline.
Even though we’ve broken it down here into four parts, when executed correctly and efficiently, the breaststroke looks and feels like one fluid motion. Speed is achieved in the breaststroke if you maintain fluidity in the stroke. If you exaggerate each part of the stroke without sticking to your tempo, you’ll end up with a choppy stroke that will slow you down.
Tighten Your Pull
Be careful not to let your arms go out too wide as you form your pull. Many swimmers learning the breaststroke have a tendency to pull their arms out to the side in a wide, sweeping arc, sometimes even wider than their body. Your pull will be most powerful when kept closer to your core. Keep your elbows tight, and pull the water straight into your chest. If you’re used to a wider pull, you’ll be surprised at how much stronger and faster you feel when keeping your arms and your pull closer to your body.
Remember, too, that the most powerful part of the breaststroke is the kick. While your pull is certainly a key element of the stroke, your kick will do most of the propelling as you glide through the water.
Finish Your Kick
While it may sound obvious, many swimmers lose an important part of the natural momentum of the breaststroke by leaving their kick unfinished. As your legs come around to finish the kick, be sure to bring your legs and feet all the way together in a streamline. Some swimmers will stop the momentum by letting their feet hang just before coming together, incorrectly believing they’ve achieved full propulsion. By snapping your legs and feet together at the end of your kick, you’ll get a final boost of a forward motion you can utilize in your glide before going into your next pull.
By implementing these three tweaks in your breaststroke, you can see an improvement in your speed. The right swim gear can also make a difference in your swim performance.
Check out all of our BornToSwim Swim Gear to find your next swimsuit and training materials to step up your breaststroke!