Strokes

There are four different strokes in swimming. Each one has its own events, but also linked events with the other strokes. Different swimmers find that they do better at different strokes - naturally faster, or more adapted to swimming that stroke.

Butterfly

The first stroke is butterfly. This stroke is considered by many to be the hardest of all. It involves swimming on your stomach, dolphin kicking your legs - they must stay together at all times - and rotating your arms forward over your head so that you are pushed through the water. This movement of the arms comes naturally to many and when used right, is both graceful, effective and fast. It is nicknamed butterfly because the arm rotation causes them to move out to the sides of the body and almost looks how the wings on a butterfly might look.

Backstroke

As one might guess from its name, backstroke is the one stroke that is swum while on the back. In this stroke, the arms are go through alternating movements, as one arm moves underwater, downward from over the head towards the hip, the other arm is moving towards the head from the hips above the water. The feet kick up and down - when one is above the water, the other is below, and vice versa. This stroke is both fast paced and exciting to watch and to swim.

Breaststroke

Breaststroke, although still fast paced, could be considered the most lengthy, slow stroke - not in speed, but in body movement. It is popular for people swimming for leisure, as the movements are less fast paced and more steady and smooth. In this stroke the swimmer executes a short movement underwater with their arms, moving them into their body, bringing them together, and then pushing them out again. The legs move in a "whip kick" - out to the sides and then back in, like a frog. All the while, the swimmer is breathing simultaneously with the arm stroke.

Freestyle

Freestyle is the most recognised swimming stroke. It also could be considered the most basic, next to breaststroke. This stroke is similar to backstroke in movement, but is swum on the stomach. The swimmer propels themself through the water by moving their arms in a rotating movement. While one arm is underwater, moving downward from above the head to the hip, the other arm is moving upward, from the hip to above the head and then entering the water to do as the first arm did. Unlike backstroke, in freestyle the arms are bent at an angle that allows for a faster stroke overall. The feet move, as with backstroke, up and down.