Basics of Breaststroke Swimming


Breaststroke is the least efficient of all the competitive swimming strokes, and it requires excellent ankle and lower leg rotation. The kick is essential to the efficiency of the stroke. The swimmer’s flexibility, core strength, and individual size play a part in determining his or her stroke technique.

The swimmer will probably perform this stroke less on full stroke than he or she will the other strokes and do more work on drills, kick, and pulling in training.

The Stroke

  • As the arms are extending, the legs are in a position ready to start their propulsive phase.
  • The face enters between the arms to achieve a streamlined position and get maximum propulsion from the legs.
  • Following this streamlined extension and propulsion from the leg kick, the hands and arms start their outsweep.
  • During this outsweep the legs stay in a streamlined position to maximize propulsion from the arms.
  • As the arms and hands reach the widest point, the elbows remain fixed while the hands and forearms commence the insweep.
  • The head is now moving upward to fit the breathing into the stroke cycle.
  • The legs have not yet broken their streamlined position.
  • The hands are now halfway through their insweep, and the face is clear of water to take a breath.
  • The thumbs are upward during this insweep.
  • As the insweep takes place the legs begin to bend in order to kick backward as the hands and arms recover forward into the streamlined position.
  • During this kick and streamlined extension, the face goes back into the water.