Everything You Need To Know About Different Swimming Styles

Any swimmer will know that there are several different swimming styles (strokes) that you can perform. As you become more of a competent swimmer, you will find that there are some strokes that you may prefer over other ones.

Here, we want to look at the merits of each particular swimming style and help you to work out which one is right for whatever situation you find yourself in!

Freestyle Swimming Technique AKA Front Crawl

This is probably the most popular of swim strokes. Most people, once they have progressed past the point of beginner swimming, are likely to gravitate towards the front crawl. With this swim stroke, you will be swimming flat on your stomach.

Your legs will be kicking at the back. Your arms will go in an alternative motion. Basically, your arms are going to help you glide through the water.

Probably the main reason why people opt for the front crawl is because it is the fastest of swim stroke. It is also one of the most efficient. If you watch the Olympics, or any swimming competition for that matter, you will notice that the big speeds come during the freestyle event.

The real issue with freestyle is the breathing. For the most part, your face is going to be point down into the pool. You need to learn to turn your face every so often to breathe the oxygen in. This means that while it can be easy to learn the basics of the stroke, if you want to properly master it, it can take an age.

Backstroke Swimming Technique

Most swimming lessons will teach the backstroke as one of the first strokes (after the breast stroke). With this stroke, you will be travelling on your back. You will alternatively kick your legs up and down as you traverse through the water. Your arms will be sort-of like a windmill.

One of the main reasons people do the backstroke is that you do not need to worry about breathing issues. You will also find that it is far more efficient than the breast stroke. However, it is a very slow method of travelling through the water.

In addition to this, it can be difficult to get the right amount of balance to ensure that travelling through the water with the backstroke is simple. Many people find that doing the backstroke is difficult for them as they are unable to see where they are going as they travel through the water.

Butterfly Swim Stroke

Many people say that this is one of the most difficult to master of the strokes, at least at the ‘basic stroke’ end. With this, it is very like the freestyle stroke. The difference is that your body is going to be bobbing along. Your arms are going to be moving in sync with each other too.

If you can master the butterfly stroke, then you will be moving through the water incredibly fast. In fact, this is the second fastest stroke after the freestyle stroke. It looks a lot better too.

However, the major downside is that you will not be able to travel across large distances with it. Due to the way in which the butterfly stroke works, you are going to need to pour a lot of energy into it. This means that you can tire even after the shortest of distances.

In addition to this, it is very difficult to get the butterfly stroke ‘right’. Many people will never be able to master the butterfly stroke. This has an impact on their overall energy levels and will really slow them down further, mainly because they are not giving themselves enough time to rest.

Breaststroke Swimming Technique

For many people, the breaststroke is the first stroke that they learn. This is because it is so simple. Your legs will normally be under the water too, although you can ‘advance’ to having your legs on the surface of the water, but by that stage it is likely that you will have learned other strokes so this is not going to be that much of an issue.


The main advantage of this stroke is that your head is always going to be above the water. This is why it is normally taught as the first stroke that a person learns. Since your head is above the water, you are never going to suffer from breathing issues.

In addition to this, your legs and your arms should be working together. Since they are always going to be ‘in sync’, it is going to be far, far easier for you to move through the water. This is why it is so easy to learn.

The major downside to this swim stroke is that it is just not efficient at all. It is also going to be incredibly slow. It is going to be fine if this is the first stroke that you have ever learned, but you are eventually going to want to jump up to something a little bit better than this.

That being said, if you do not want to learn much about swimming, this is a good basic stroke to learn so you can stay safe while you are in the water.


This is one of those ‘unheard of’ strokes, but it is probably one of the best of the lot. The efficiency of the side stroke means that this is the one that the military use. If you need to rescue somebody from the water, then you would always opt for the side stroke.

This is because you can continue to pull yourself along while holding them. It is simple to learn too.

Obviously, you are going to swimming on your side. You will use both arms and both legs, but they will each be doing different things. This is a fantastic swim stroke to use if you are looking to exercise. It does take a little bit of getting used to, but most people should be able to ‘nail’ this after a few lessons.

If you need the pictures describing each steps in all swimming strokes, head over to WikiHow, they have explained each stroke with pictures really well.