Breathing Technique

Developing a good breathing technique is perhaps the biggest challenge for beginner and intermediate swimmers. Problems with breathing can easily knock on into other parts of the stroke. For instance, breathing can cause scissor kicks, poor body position, cross-overs and lop sided strokes.

Many swimmers have a problem with their stroke that is related to their breathing technique without realizing that their breathing is the cause of the problem.

The most common problem swimmers have with their breathing is not exhaling under the water. If you exhale under the water between breaths you only have to inhale when you go to breathe. This makes things much easier.

When you’re not breathing, keep your head still

Only turn your head to breathe. This will feel a little strange at first but should quickly start to feel much nicer. You’ll find you feel much more coordinated with the rest of your stroke too.

don’t lift your head when you breathe

With the trough or pocket of air by your head you don’t have to lift your head up to breathe. To breathe into the trough you just have to rotate your head a little without lifting it. If you try and lift your head you disturb the bow wave, reducing the trough. Also, when lifting your head you tend to breathe too far forwards – and try and breathing over the high front of the bow wave.

don’t over rotate your head

To support yourself you tend to cross-over with your lead hand creating a banana shape with your body. This causes you to snake down the pool from one side to the other. A scissor kick is also very likely.?To correct this, you need to get used to breathing into the trough. If you develop a stiff neck whilst swimming, it’s very likely you are either lifting or over-rotating your head to breathe. This puts great strain on your neck muscles. Improve your breathing technique and the stiffness should quickly go away.

learn to breathe bilaterally

Here at Swim Smooth we believe that learning to breathe bilaterally is an investment that will pay you back every swim for the rest of your life. That’s because it helps develop a symmetrical stroke technique which will make you cut straighter through the water.


The sidestroke is a swim stroke swum on the sides. It is not used in competitions and therefore less known nowadays. Because it is swum on the side and uses asymmetrical movements of the limbs, it can look peculiar the first time you see it. Nevertheless it can add some variety to your swim sessions.

In performing this stroke, the swimmer starts upon his right side, and sweeps his right hand through the water as above mentioned. While that arm is passing through the water, the left arm is swung just above the surface with a bold sweep, the hand dipping into the water when the arm is stretched to it utmost. This movement brings the body over to the left side when the two hands change duties, the left being swept under the body while the right is swung forward.

The Sidestroke allows the head to be above water at all times .?This stroke also makes it a favorite for women who’s hair prefer not to get it wet. Because the Sidestroke may be swum on either side of the body it’s not as intimidating as lying on one’s back or swimming face down in a big pool. As far as breathing goes, there’s no contest between swimming the Sidestroke and any other swim stroke. Swimmers may take a breath any time they please–no pesky coordination with the arms, legs or other body parts to think about.

The Sidestroke kick is quite different, as well as the arm stroke, and of course, both must be coordinated in order to maintain continuous forward momentum. Aside from the leg and arm dynamics you are probably wondering why the Sidestroke isn’t taught first. For one thing, it’s a matter of safety. An easy swim stroke encourages beginners to take chances such as swimming for too long a time or going into deep water. Those who are taught gradually and become used to having their faces and bodies moving in and under water, would be less likely to become panicked if an unforeseen emergency should occur. A swimmer who has never had any previous swimming skills except for the Sidestroke, may not know what to do under such circumstances and could become traumatized.


9 steps for a successful Breastroke

The breaststroke is without a doubt one of the most popular swimming strokes. In fact, many recreational swimmers are perfectly happy using this swim stroke all the time. Because it is so popular, we consider it as one of the?basic swimming strokes.

The breaststroke is swum in a prone position. Both arms move synchronously and execute short, half-circular movements underwater. The legs also move synchronously and execute a whip kick.

  1. In the initial position, you are in a horizontal position on your stomach. Your arms are close together and extended forward, palms facing downwards. Your head is in line with your trunk, and you look straight down. Your legs are pressed together and your toes are pointed.
  2. Now the active phase of the arms starts. Your palms rotate outwards, your arms separate, and your body forms an Y-like shape.
  3. When your arms are outside of your shoulders, your elbows flex, and your hands continue to move backwards but also downwards. Your knees start to flex and your feet start to recover towards the buttocks.
  4. Once your hands have moved past behind your shoulders they move towards each other rather than backwards, until they meet under the chest.
  5. As your hands move towards each other your head and shoulders rise above water, and your feet continue to move towards the buttocks.
  6. Your upper body is at it’s highest point when your hands have met below your chest and your feet are at your buttocks.
  7. Now the propulsive phase of the legs starts. Your feet kick backwards and apart while your arms extend forward under water. Your chest and your head drop in the water again.
  8. Once your legs are completely extended they are brought together. You then glide for a short moment in that position.
  9. You start a new breaststroke cycle once the momentum of the glide fades.


The butterfly stroke has a special place among the competitive swimming strokes. It has a reputation of being hard to learn. It is quickly exhausting. Yet when you have mastered this stroke, swimming a few lengths of butterfly can be a lot of fun because of its distinct and spectacular movements.

The peak speed of the butterfly is faster than that of the front crawl, due to the synchronous pull/push with both arms. Yet since speed drops significantly during the recovery phase, it is overall slightly slower than front crawl.

The breaststroke, backstroke, and front crawl can all be swum easily even if the swimmer’s technique is flawed. The butterfly, however, is unforgiving of mistakes in style; it is very difficult to overcome a poor butterfly technique with brute strength. Many swimmers and coaches consider it the most difficult swimming style. The main difficulty for beginners is the synchronous over-water recovery, especially when combined with breathing, since both arms, the head, shoulders and part of the chest have to be lifted out of the water for these tasks. Once efficient technique has been developed, it becomes a smooth, fast stroke.

The butterfly technique with the dolphin kick consists of synchronous arm movement with a synchronous leg kick.?Good technique is crucial to swim this style effectively. The wave-like body movement is also very significant, as this is the key to easy synchronous over-water recovery and breathing.



This stroke is one of four regulated by the International Swimming Federation.? This done with swimming on your back.? The advantage is that it makes for easy breathing but swimmers can not see where they are going.? The speed is similar to that of the butter fly.? Most of the effort is done with the arms.? The leg movement is defined as a flutter kick.? In competetions the backstroke usually has 3 different races in 50m, 100, and 200 meter.? There are 5 rules for back stroke to be FINA compliant.

  • Before the starting signal, the swimmers shall line up in the water facing the starting end, with both hands holding the starting grips. Standing in or on the gutter or bending the toes over the lip of the gutter is prohibited.
  • At the signal for starting and after turning, the swimmer shall push off and swim upon his back throughout the race except when executing a turn as set forth in SW 6.4. The normal position on the back can include a roll movement of the body up to, but not including 90 degrees from horizontal. The position of the head is not relevant.
  • Some part of the swimmer must break the surface of the water throughout the race. It shall be permissible for the swimmer to be completely submerged during the turn, at the finish and for a distance of not more than 15 meters after the start and each turn. By that point, the head must have broken the surface.
  • During the turn, the shoulders may be turned over the vertical to the breast after which a continuous single arm pull or a continuous simultaneous double arm pull may be used to initiate the turn. Once the body has left the position on the back, any kick or arm pull must be part of the continuous turning action. The swimmer must have returned to the position on the back upon leaving the wall. When executing the turn there must be a touch of the wall with some part of the swimmer

Front crawl

The front crawl is a classic swimming stroke and is usually one of the first learned when you take swimming lessons. The front crawl is also known as freestyle swimming, and is the fastest of all the swimming strokes, according to the Swim City website. The front crawl is a basic swimming stroke, but it still requires a good deal of timing, coordination and technique for it to be effective.?The initial position for the front crawl is on the breast, with both arms stretched out in front and both legs extended to the back. Then while one arm is pulling/pushing, the other arm is recovering. The arm strokes provide most of the forward movement, while the leg kicking in a flutter movement only provides some.

The swimming position on the chest allows good flexibility of the arm in the water, as compared to the backstroke, where the hands cannot be moved easily along the back of the spine. The above-water recovery reduces drag, compared to the underwater recovery of breaststroke. The alternating arm stroke also allows some rolling movement of the body for an easier recovery compared to, for example,butterfly. Finally, the alternating arm stroke makes for a relatively constant speed throughout the cycle.

Basics of Swimming

Swimming takes a little coordination. You need to move your legs and arms in tandem, as well as time your breathing and swimming strokes for maximum efficiency. Swimming skills also include diving into the water to get a good, smooth start on your stroke. Once you feel confident moving around in the water, you can start learning basic swimming strokes such as breast stroke.


An often overlooked basic skill in swimming is the ability to time your breaths. If you’re not comfortable breathing while swimming, you’ll struggle to make streamlined, coordinated movements. The basic idea involves breathing out through both nose and mouth when your head is underwater, then lift your head to the side, taking a full breath before plunging your face back down under the surface. experts?suggests practicing this motion when holding onto the side of the pool with your arms outstretched.


Gliding through the water is a basic skill to master before you even consider kicking and paddling, according to swimming?experts, speaking to “The Guardian.” Gliding helps you to get used to the sensation of moving through the water headfirst. Try gently pushing off the side wall of the pool with your arms stretched out in front of your head. Keep your head face-down in the water and glide until you slow down.


Beginner swimmers often find themselves messily chopping through the water with their limbs. That’s fine. It takes a while to get a feel for moving your limbs in time. You must also get used to moving muscles in your lower back, abdomen and hips to power you forward. Similarly, try to let your legs come up behind your body, and keep a slim, streamlined position. Over time, this reduces drag from the water and makes you a more efficient swimmer.


Once you feel confident with basic swimming techniques, mastering a specific stroke is your next challenge. Breaststroke, while requiring slightly more coordination than front crawl, offers a stable, gentle stroke that’s ideal for beginners. To do the breaststroke, you need to stay straight at the water’s surface, holding your head up. Pull your arms in together with the hands almost touching. As your hands reach your chest, bend your knees and lift your feet up in a frog-like shape with the soles of your feet pointed out to each side. Push back with your legs and reach forward with your hands simultaneously. This double-propulsion should help you surge through the water.


Diving into the pool is a basic swimming skill — even if it starts out of the water. Always practice diving in a deep pool with a lifeguard on duty. When you begin, diving may only involve putting your hands together above your head and gently curling your body forward toward the water until you fall in, headfirst. As you progress, try jumping slightly and straightening your legs behind you as you dive to enter the water smoothly.

History of Swimming

The history of swimming is a long one, precisely it can be traced back to the prehistoric times. The Bible, as well as the Iliad and the Odyssey all contain references to the sport of swimming. However, these sources date back nearly 3,000 years. Egyptian clay seals from 4000 B.C. also depict four swimmers doing the crawl stroke. Ancient Egyptian, Grecian and Roman palaces were often equipped with swimming pools or baths. Even drawings discovered in the Kebir desert are linked to this time period and show people moving through water. According to the historians, swimming was also often used in the battle. The Greeks were often regarded as solid swimmers.

The turning point in the history of swimming is when schools accepted swimming as a natural part of any life education. Thus, they began to teach swimming in schools not just as a life safety course but as an extracurricular activity. However, swimming competitions began to arise around the mid 1800.