View Full Version : breastroker

Marcelo d'Amorim
July 29th, 2008, 08:20 AM

this is my first post to the forum. i am 34 and trying to get back to the pool. stopped when was 16. my preferred style was (is) breaststroke. it is 1 month since i came back. :) i am swimming 3 times a week in the mornings,1:15h each session.

i am trying to fix two of my main issues with my breastroke, which i believe were already there when i was 15/16.

1. i cannot recognize when fadigue is coming and when it comes i am done.
2. my technique falls apart when i try going too fast

in two events i could keep up with swimmers -- that made around 1m15s for 100m -- up to the 50m. i thought i could keep up with their pace but i was wrong. after the turn my body started to fadigue, my technique broke apart and i finished with 1m23s. what also surprises me is that my 50m turn (34s) on the 100m is typically better than my best 50m (high 35). it seems my technique also breaks when i try to go too fast.

in summary, i have a problem with my 50m and with my 100m breasktroke. i appreciate recommendations.


July 29th, 2008, 11:07 AM
I'm sure others will have more advice, but I would think the key is swimming more 100's on race pace. Only then will you have a better idea of what you are capable of.

Are those really times for meters - or are they yards? Those are fast times for meters after only a month of swimming..

July 29th, 2008, 12:24 PM
I'm also 34 but started swimming again just over 2yrs back. the one thing that helped me out in the last 2 months was acutally swimming more breaststroke at practice.

I spent the better part of 18 months just trying to get back into shape. now I can handle 5000m freestyle practice in 90minutes no problems. but it didn't help my breaststroke.

at my last LCM meet I did what you did. I swam the 50m in 34.57 but then I opened my 100m in 34.55 finished at 1:16.87 (back in 42.32 ouch!) but the thing is I felt like I was holding back, taking nice long strokes. it was not until just after the 3rd pullout that I hit a wall and at 85-90m people watching could see my stroke change. I was just whisping the water, not pulling much of anything.

same thing in freestyle. fastest Masters 50 SCM is 28.77, but I opened a 100scm in 28.02 but then came back in 34.++ (again ouch)

in the 200 it was even worse. even though i really felt I held back in the first, I had nothing left in the last 50m.
38.12 1:21.22 2:06.41 2:53.23
(43.1) (45.19) (46.82)

if the 200 is offered in our Oct masters meet, then I am hopinng to go:
37 / 41 / 43 / 45 but I will really have to work hard for the next 3 months to be able to do that. goal time is 2:46.45 .

so I guess my suggestion is to just swim more breaststroke at practice. I like doing broken 200's 25+50+50+50+25 start 5:00 you really get a feeling of when fatigue starts to hit.

July 29th, 2008, 12:58 PM
yep. sounds to me like you just need more time in the pool. practice race-pace 150s. that way you won't be as tired competing in race-pace 100s. also, you'd probably benefit from some just-arms, just-legs, and other assorted drills.


Old Navy
July 31st, 2008, 07:42 AM
For now the answer is swim, swim, swim, and be patient with the results. I'm 46 and have been back in the pool for about three years now after 25 years off. I have learned quite a bit about swimming and fine tuning my strokes in those three years through reading, talking to other masters swimmers and age group/high school coaches in the area and slowly applying the things I'm learnng. Ask someone you swim with to take a look at your stroke and see if you can identify where the weak links are, swimming more focused sets to build strength. For now also enjoy the fact that you're back in the pool and just keep swimming. The improvements will come.

August 1st, 2008, 07:38 AM
My advice is to do a lot of slow swimming. Concentrate on perfecting your technique. Too many swimmers, especially men, try to power their way through the water and two things happen. They get tired, and their technique falls apart.
Learn how to use the glide in your stroke to balance yourself.
You are not 16, yet you are trying to do the same work that a 16 year old conditioned swimmer did. Find someone who swims slower than you to swim near and work on your stroke.
Good luck

August 1st, 2008, 12:42 PM
Swim, swim, swim and work the drills. I am in the same situation and I have found:

1. My aerodynamics have changed, since fat floats, I am riding higher in the water.

2. My timing is off. It takes longer to get into the groove.

3. My turns are sloppy and single handed.

4. I need to set a specific part of the workout to emphasize breast stroke. It can't be with the IMs or IM drills when I have my fins on.

I am counting strokes and work on an active glide during the longer swims vs a faster turn over on the 50s.


August 22nd, 2008, 05:59 PM
I agree with norascats and ddunbar. My experience has been that the total muscle shutdown you're describing is a symptom of straining every muscle you have in an effort to go faster. A lot of the time, you're so tense that you end up straining against yourself.

Apply strength where it's needed during your stroke, and make sure that the muscles you aren't currently using are relaxed. This doesn't mean going slow and gliding, either. Breaststroke has a natural pulse pulse timing that you can work with even while going fast.

A specific thing you could try is using your lower back to assist in the pull phase of your stroke. If you arch your back, it's easier to get an advantageous body position for the kick phase, while taxing your arms less.

I'm not a coach, but there was a time when I went 1:04 for the 100m, so I have some experience here.

August 22nd, 2008, 09:03 PM
A specific thing you could try is using your lower back to assist in the pull phase of your stroke. If you arch your back, it's easier to get an advantageous body position for the kick phase, while taxing your arms less.

While I agree that one needs to stay mindful of the effect of each part of the body while swimming inasmuch as one is mindful of the gestalt effect, I think I disagree with your position on arching. if i read you right, i think you are advocating arching one's back backwards during the pull phase. that does not seem advisable. in fact, i would advocate arching your back forwards, which would in fact place more of a workload on your arms. while arching one's back backwards during the pull phase might seem like a good idea to lessen your arms' workload, i believe it would increase your workload overall.

breaststroke has always been the stroke with the greatest amount of drag. the core of this drag problem stems from the fact that your knees come in to prepare for the kick, and this knees-in action creates a wall from knees to hips that the water must now move around. with other strokes, the body stays primarily horizontal, thereby reducing the amount of total drag. however, this vertical positioning in breaststroke with the hips to knees portion seems inevitably destined to create a more stop and go stroke, as opposed to the other strokes go, go, go designs.

by arching one's back backwards in the breaststroke pull phase, you would not only lower one's positioning in the water because of the increased amount of body held up outside and above the water, but you would also strengthen the stop and go dynamics created by the bending of hips and knees. as the knees come inward, the back would come backward, thereby creating an even larger vertical wall for the water to move around.

thus, i would recommend that the back arch forward as the arms pull, and the hips only bend the thighs down to a less-than 45 degree angle with the level of the water. this would help to keep the body in a more horizontal positioning throughout the stroke, thereby reducing the overall drag. of course, this makes the stroke much more upper body oriented than twenty or so years ago, and makes it more akin to butterfly (which appropriately started as a speedier spin-off stroke to breaststroke anyway).


August 25th, 2008, 10:03 PM
I think I'm probably overstating my case a little. When I say arching the back, I mean something closer to using your back, as you say.

During the pull your arms are under the water, and during the recovery of the stroke, your arms are very close to the surface; your upper body has to come out of the water to make this transition. Using your back to help do this places less stress on the arms, and doesn't have to imply bringing your upper body any higher than normal.

I think if this is done with a little thought, it shouldn't involve much change in your hip/leg position either.

The original poster was worried about the sudden onset of fatigue. In my experience, the arms are the weakest link in breaststroke and placing more stress on them probably won't help with this.

August 26th, 2008, 09:15 AM
to the degree that you can use your lower back to lift your upper body out of the water without arching your spine backwards, I agree. however, that takes a good bit of self-discipline.

as for fatigue, if you are performing a stroke more efficiently overall, then you will likely have to repeat the stroke-work less per length. as such, even if you increase the fatigue caused by one aspect of the stroke to achieve higher efficiency, the overall fatigue will be reduced.


January 31st, 2019, 04:00 AM
I enjoyed being a breastroker because it allowed me to swim at a high level. I went to Nationals but would have been a middle of the road swimmer with any other stroke. I can relate to having to do the same sets as freestylers who were 4 seconds faster. If I could do 10x100s on the 1:10, they should have had to do them on the 1:05. mcdvoice.onl/ (https://www.mcdvoice.onl/)