The 6 Main Types of Swimming Strokes

The 6 Main Types of Swimming Strokes

Regardless of your age or abilities, it’s often possible to learn how to do some or all of the basic strokes of swimming. If you hope to propel yourself through the water in a more productive and enjoyable way, take a moment to learn more about the primary swimming-related strokes. Some of these are fairly easy to master, while others typically take a little practice to fully grasp because of the need to work on your timing and coordination. The swimming pool design and construction experts from San Diego Pools go over the six basic swimming strokes below.

1. Dog Paddle

This is a good stroke for younger swimmers to learn first. The main goal with the dog paddle is to keep your head above the water while swimming. It’s a simple stroke where you basically mimic the movements of a dog to stay afloat and move in the water. It’s done by:

• Extending your arms forward
• Alternating your hands in downward and circular motions
• Extending your legs backward while bending your knees
• Alternating your feet quickly in up-and-down motions, referred to as a flutter kick

2. Backstroke

Because it’s done while on your back, the backstroke, or back crawl, is a faster stroke that gives you some speed as you swim. You do this stroke by alternating pushing and pulling motions with a windmill-like movement. It involves a bit of coordination, since you’ll be extending one arm forward as the other one exits the water. You also flutter kick with your legs while your face is in the water. What the backstroke also does is encourage you to work on proper breathing techniques while swimming.

3. Breaststroke

One of the more popular swimming strokes, the breaststroke is also one of the strokes that requires more coordination and a good sense of timing. Start on your stomach with your face in the water and take the following actions:

• Extend your arms forward beneath the water
• Pull backward with a sweeping outward movement up toward your chest
• Extend your arms as you glide and begin the next stroke
• Lift your head to breathe as your arms are going back
• Do a frog kick as your arms start to reach forward for the glide

Also, remember to bend your knees as you move your feet toward your body. Lastly, your feet are moved outward and extended as you bring your legs together.

4. Sidestroke

As the name implies, this stroke is performed while on your side, which can be whichever side you prefer. While less common, since it’s not used for competitive purposes, it’s still a fun way to change things up while swimming. It’s done by:

• Pushing off the wall and floating on your side
• Keeping your legs straight with your bottom arm extended
• Resting your top arm over your head
• Staying in this position for the duration of the stroke

5. Butterfly Stroke

You’ll also need to work on your timing and coordination for the butterfly stroke. It can be broken down into a series of well-coordinated movements. These include:

• Extending your arms above your head
• Pulling your hands inward toward your body in a semicircle as you keep your palms outward
• Pushing your palms in the opposite direction as you bring your arms to your sides below your hips—do this fairly quickly as you complete the arm release
• Wrapping up the pull of the stroke by brushing your thumbs against your sides to finish

As you do the arm movements, you’ll also do a dolphin kick, which starts with a small initial kick and is followed by a bigger kick.

6. Freestyle Stroke

The freestyle is another one of the faster swimming strokes. You do this one on your belly with your face in the water. You should also keep your body close to the surface of the water. Complete the freestyle swimming stroke by:

• Moving your arms in a circular, windmill-like motion
• Using a flutter kick
• Alternating your arms so one is pulling through the water as the other one reaches forward
• Turning your head to one side to breathe

If you’re ready to build a pool of your own so you can enjoy the benefits of swimming, reach out to the experienced professionals at San Diego Pools. We are a premier San Diego swimming pool contractor, and our pool design and construction experts are dedicated to building the pool that’s right for your family and providing you with the highest-quality service in the industry. Give us a call today at 888-707-7786.

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