How to Swim the Breaststroke
The breaststroke is the oldest known swimming stroke and is one of four strokes used in competitive swimming. This stroke is also very popular in leisure swimming because the head can be held up, making vision and breathing easy and because the swimmer can rest between strokes if needed. Swimmers can also use the breaststroke in survival swimming and in lifesaving situations. Since the breaststroke has many uses and is easy to learn, it is one of the best strokes to teach a beginning swimmer. When teaching the breaststroke to a beginner, it is very important to explain every aspect of the stroke from head to toe. The head should be positioned so the hairline is at the surface of the water, keeping the body horizontal. The arm motions of the breaststroke are performed simultaneously, moving in opposite directions. The leg motions are performed in the same fashion. Lifting the hips as the hands are extended in front, then lifting the upper body as the hands finish and start to recover creates a rocking action. This rocking action is an automatic movement if the stroke is performed correctly. In the glide, the body is flat, prone, and streamlined, with the legs together and extended straight out. Keeping the palms down, extend the arms in front of the head. Angle the hands slightly downward and turn the palms outward at a 45-degree angle to the surface of the water. With the arms straight, press the palms directly out until the hands are spread wider than the shoulders. From this position, bend the elbows and sweep the hands downward and outward until they pass under the elbows with the forearms vertical. At this point, rotate the wrists and sweep the hands inward, upward, and back slightly toward the feet until the palms are below the chin, facing each other and almost touching. Elbow position is important for good propulsion. The elbows are to be higher than the hands, lower than the shoulders pointing outward,...
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