Swimming backstroke is the third fastest stroke competitively, originated from an old english style of swimming backstrokeand has developed over the years and has evolved into an alternating and more effective action. This action givesthe backstroke less resistance with a continuous propulsion. The speed of the backstroke is limited by the restrictiverange of movement of the shoulders as well as the ability/inability to use the power in the chest muscles to thebest desired effect by the roll of the body which will be discussed in more detail in the chapter about the upsweepof the arms. When swimming backstroke it is usually developed from a simple back paddle just kicking legs on the back, once this achieved then the backstroke swimmer can begin to develop the arms as long as the streamlined body position is maintained. Swimming backstroke can be a first choice of stroke for the beginner because it free from the water and does not reallyrequire a breathing pattern so there are little or no difficulties. The only problem can occur is that some swimmersdo not like lying on their back due to fear of the water. Swimming backstroke/ body position
When swimming backstroke the body should be in a flat and horizontal position (supine). The body should also be ina streamlined position. The head should be relaxed, with the water should be crossing the ears keeping steady andin line with the body. The eyes should be looking upwards and backwards keeping the chin close to the chest. Keep your shoulders just below the surface of the water but they will only become visible as your body rollsand your arms recover. Your hips are the lowest part of the body when swimming the backstroke. The practice ofletting the less able swimmers hips sink should be discouraged if you are teaching your child or yourself to swim backstroke Keep your legs and toes close the surface with your toes breaking the surface of the water. Your body will roll on it'slongitudinal axis, you can roll up to about 60 degrees from the horizontal. This roll helps to assist so thatyou can place your hand in the best catch position so that you can have an effective underwater arm action which assists the over water arm recovery. The only part of the body not involved in this body roll is the head this should be perfectly still when swimming backstroke. Swimming backstroke/ leg action
When you swim backstroke you will need a good, strong and efficient legs kick. The leg kick in backstroke is mainlyused for balance, it is not very likely that the leg kick will provide much propulsion. If you were a good leg kicker then you may get a little propulsion maybe 1-5 percent which could be used when the arms are not intheir propulsive phase. When one arm is above the head ready for entry and the other is by the side just finishedit's pull. You must remember that the although the legs do not contribute to propulsion they are still importantfor a good body position as well as balance for your strong sweeping actions made by your arms which is made outside the line of the body which will in effect will cause lateral deviation. So a good leg action willminimize lateral deviation (moving from side to side). Although the kicks are described as an upbeat and downbeat it is important that the kick does not necessarily take place in the vertical plane. Your hips move side to side along with the upper body as it rolls so the path of thekick is influenced at the time of the upbeat and downbeat. When swimming backstroke the legs action is alternating as well as continuous. Your legs will stay close togetherand the movement of each of your legs initiates from the hip and is observed as an upbeat and downbeat. Swimming backstroke/ Downbeat (recovery)
Your leg will begin the downbeat close to the surface of the water and the leg is almost straight....