Presented by Steve Allnutt, Camp Director
Nike Swim Camp Tip: Breaststroke Mechanics
Hello Future Nike Campers!
Breaststroke isn't just about how strong you are, how fast you can kick, or how good of endurance you have. Of course its all these things and many more but we all know at least a few fast breaststrokers that aren't the best at the individual components that make-up breaststroke, yet can put it all together and excel when swimming the full stroke.
One ingredient that that creates the "secret sauce" of these elite frog-footed humans is their TIMING of the breaststroke. Timing the kick and pull (And maybe a glide, see below) can be tricky, and it will depend on many factors such as:
• Distance of the race/set
• Drilling, kicking, pulling, swimming, etc
Focus points we like to use at the Nike Camp at San Diego State University:
Pull & Breath
• EYES & HEAD down during the glide and while the hands separate (outsweep)
• Breath begins when the hands begin to pull together (insweep)
• Head goes back DOWN as the hands shoot forward (recovery)
Kick (& Glide.. maybe)
• Recover the legs and arms at the same time (Heels come up to glutes while the hands shoot forward)
• Upper body in streamlined position during POWER phase of the kick
• As kick finishes, arms begin setting up next pull
Out goal with these focus points is to maximize the propulsion from the arms while the legs remain streamlined, and then maximize the propulsion of the legs while the arms remained streamlined with a QUICK transition/lunge/recovery between the arm and leg propulsive phases of the stroke. Slowness on the recovery of the arms or legs will kill your momentum, and cause a 100% complete stoppage of your forward velocity!
To glide or not to glide, that is the question, folks! As with all good questions, the answer is "it depends..."
• Gliding = Holding a streamlined position between the finish of the kick, and the separation of the hands
• Not Gliding = Instantaneous transition between the finish of the kick and the separation of the hands for the pull.
• Overlapping = Arms separate into next pull before the kick finishes
- Swimming a 50 Breaststroke? DON'T glide! High tempo is important, and most elite 50 BR swimmers use an overlapping style.
- Swimming a 100 Breaststroke? Maybe a little glide, but only if you've got a GREAT kick! This is still a sprint race so most of the best swimmers do not glide.
- Swimming a 200 Breaststroke? Here it's 50/50, some people can be efficient while gliding, while some others are more efficient without a glide, find what works for you!
- IM Breastroke Split? Take advantage of the best parts of your Breaststroke! If you've got a strong pull, use it! If you've got a strong kick, USE IT! Got great pull-outs? USE THEM ALREADY!!! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!??!?!?
No matter what, ALWAYS hold the BEST streamlined position you can at all times, long or short glide.
Practice with your swim coach which style will work best for you. Great breaststrokers can transition between one style to another for different races, and even occasionally during a race if that fits their race plan.
Hope to see you at a Nike Swim Camp in the near future so we can make your BREAST stroke into your BEST STROKE!
Always a great day to be an Aztec here in Sunny San Diego!
Steve Allnutt, Asst Swim Coach SDSU