Breaststroke - Top Tips for Beginners

Updated: Oct 4, 2021

Breaststroke is one of the more popular swimming strokes amongst recreational swimmers, it is thought to be the oldest of the four competitive swimming strokes dating back to the stone age!

Although breaststroke is the slowest of the strokes it does use more muscles than the others!

So here are my top tips for getting started with breaststroke technique:


Practise your Body Position: Getting into a good body position in the water is another important part of breaststroke swimming! You want to be as flat, horizontal and streamlined as possible while allowing the feet to remain below the surface!

  1. Start with your feet on the bottom and shoulders under the water with your chin on the surface

  2. Take a relaxed inhale

  3. As you begin to exhale, gently lean forwards and lower your head into the water

  4. Allow your body to float up to the surface

  5. Remember to relax!

Repeat until you feel comfortable!

Practise your Arm Action: In Breaststroke your arms move in a circular motion. The entire arm stroke starts slowly, increasing with speed to the peak of the movement and slowing again during the recovery part of your arm action (gliding).

  1. Start with standing in shallow water with your shoulders under the water

  2. Stretch your arms out in front of you to begin

  3. Draw a small circle in the shape of a pizza

  4. Keep the elbows high, forearms and hands relaxed

  5. Tuck your elbows in and slice your pizza down the middle

Once you feel comfortable with this:

  1. Practise arm actions walking in shallow water

  2. Move on to practising arms with your feet off the floor

Repeat until you feel comfortable!

Practise your leg Action: In Breaststroke your legs move in a circular motion.

  1. Start with sitting on the bottom with your feet in deep enough water

  2. Stretch your legs out in front of you to begin

  3. Bring your heels towards your bottom

  4. Turn your feet out

  5. Draw a circle with your heels

  6. Finish your circle with your legs together and toes pointed

Once you feel comfortable with this:

  1. Roll over on to your stomach, use your tow float for some stability and repeat your leg action

Repeat until you feel comfortable!

Fun Fact: Captain Matthew Webb used a breaststroke swimming style to complete his solo swim of the English Channel - He was the first man to complete the swim!

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