Swimming Technique Part Three: 3 Ways To Improve Speed (Breaststroke Edition)

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Swimming Technique Part Three: 3 Ways To Improve Speed (Breaststroke Edition)

Swimming Technique Part Three: 3 Ways To Improve Speed (Breaststroke Edition)

Welcome back to part three of our swimming faster series, if you are new please check out our previous editions featuring butterfly and backstroke.


Today we are going to talk about breaststroke and how you can improve your speed.

For those of us with the want it now mentally and short attention spans let’s get to it.

1. Self Talk

Absolutely talk to yourself, it is a fantastic way to stay on tempo or get faster.  Breast can be easily broken down into four parts.  Pull, breath, kick, stretch.  PBKS for those of you aiming for super quick tempo.  As you talk through these four pieces make sure your body isn’t falling behind or skipping ahead.  Talk at the speed you want to achieve, but be honest with yourself, if your body can’t keep up with your head slow down.

Bonus Tip:  Pull into your breath, kick into your stretch.  See what I did there?

2. Knees together

Save yourself some time and wasted energy by streamlining your kick.  Your knees should be as close together as possible, having spread apart knees accomplishes nothing other than an energy suck and a slow death to your forward drive.  If you are working a kick set you can self-talk it too.  Heels up, around, and squeeze together.

Isolate:  See how far one kick will get you.  Line yourself up with the tiles on the bottom of the pool or with a buoy on the lane lines.  Start from zero, so you are not moving.  Complete one kick and recheck your position, see how much you can improve on your distance traveled.

3. Hand Speed

Breaststroke isn’t necessarily thought of as a fast stroke, but it still has quick elements to it.  When you kick into your stretch, the movement of your hands to a streamlined position should be fast.  After your pull, when your hands are in front of your chest and below your chin, shoot your hands out and reach, stretch whatever you want to call it and rocket propel yourself with the drive from your kick.

Observe:  Youtube a breaststroke event at the Olympic level and take a peek at what the superstars do.  I recommend checking out Brendan Hansen for hand speed and Leisel Jones for kick power.

Let us know your thoughts and questions in the comments below. Here are some other Articles You May Be Interested In Reading:

About Emily Milak

Emily Milak is a lifetime competitive swimmer living in Southeastern Wisconsin. Emily is a US National Team champion, NCAA champion, and USMS champion with extensive coaching experience. She is a product development consultant at Kiefer.

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I've been a swimmer my whole life. My parents started me with lessons as a three-year-old and by five, I had joined my first team. I started swimming year-round at eight and by thirteen, I was qualified for Junior Nationals. By fifteen, I was a member of the US National Junior Team (National 'B' Team) and a Senior National Qualifier. I attended my first Olympic Trials in 2000 and finished third in the 200 butterfly. I am a US National Champion, three-time NCAA Champion, NCAA record holder, and was a member of the US National 'A' Team for five years. I've competed in two World Championships, two Duel in the Pools, a Pan Pacific Championship where I earned a bronze medal in the 200 fly, and competitor in the Goodwill Games. I love to swim and love to coach. I have been working with 12 & Unders for the past ten years including a lengthy stint as the head age group coach in Houston, TX with the toughest bunch of little swimmers I have ever had the privilege of working with. Now I am a mom who swims! I substitute coach and swim master's. I have only competed at one Master's Nationals, but walked away a two-time champion.


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