View Full Version : Old techniques

Dave Chambers
July 31st, 2006, 08:20 AM
Hi every body.

I am interested in gathering some documents about breaststroke kick/butterfly arms and double arm backstroke with breaststroke kick. I am interested in the biomechanics if there is anything out there.


July 31st, 2006, 11:52 AM
butterfly arms were initially developed to be a faster arm recovery for breaststroke. thus, breaststroke legs and butterfly arms are a natural pairing.

Double backstroke arms with a breaststroke kick is just a modification of elementary backstroke.

biomechanically, breaststroke legs coupled with butterfly arms accentuates the point that there is a glide, however brief, in butterfly and gears the butterfly stroke to be more receptive to an undulating form.

Double backstroke arms coupled with a breaststroke kick does not seem to me to be very useful. elevating a portion of your body, like your arms, shifts your equilibrium in the water to a lower point. you sink. the backstroke arm recovery is inefficient from that perspective, but it only adds the weight of one arm and has its detrimental effects counterbalanced by good, tight, fast streamlined kicking. a double backstroke arm recovery doubles the weight your body must bear, and the timing of breaststroke is such that the wind up of the legs during a backstroke arm recovery would assuredly drop you like a stone.

that being said, though i have been teaching swim technique for over half of my life, i'm not a biomechanist. the history of butterfly can be found on the wikipedia, for one place.


goswim.tv is also good for drills. in particular, you may find of interest:


Dave Chambers
July 31st, 2006, 08:02 PM
Hi haffathot

Thanks for that. That's info that I had already found by doing a google search though. I really am not liking my chances of finding biomechanical information on theses strokes.

I really don't like these strokes, however FINA say that you can use them in Masters so we have to teach the basics of them in our courses. I didn't want to start writing something from scratch but it looks like I may have to.

Thanks for the info.


August 1st, 2006, 09:41 AM
double arm backstroke and butterfly with breaststroke kick as strokes is a world different than thinking in terms of drills.

as strokes, these techniques are designed for the less elite swimmers. traditional butterfly and backstroke are much faster than either of these variations, but including these variations makes the sport more inclusive.

thus, i doubt you will find very much on the biomechanics of these variations at all, since they aren't recommended practices for competition. if you want to make double arm backstroke more efficient, evolve it into traditional. same thing for butterfly. what you are asking is the same as me asking you for biomechanical information on racing dives from the side, instead of off the block.

what i would advise is that you do not significantly alter your program to teach these strokes. Teach the traditional strokes as you generally would, and if someone is physically incapable or is having incredible trouble with traditional backstroke or, more likely, butterfly, advise them of the rule allowance.


Dave Chambers
August 1st, 2006, 09:46 AM
Hi Sean.

I am with you 100%. I hate those strokes but we still have a lot of Masters Swimmers in Australia swimming these strokes so coaches have to know how to coach them.

It is for our Level 1 masters caoching qualification. We have just ripped the course apart to align it more with swimming Australia and when it comes to biomechanics this was an area that we found we had neglected.

Hopefully FINA get rid of it soon. :D


August 1st, 2006, 10:14 AM

Well, biomechanically, would not the stroke components be identical to other existing strokes?

A backstroke arm recovery is a backstroke arm recovery, whether it be single or double armed. Breaststroke kick is breaststroke kick, regardless of to which stroke it is attached. Elements of catch, propulsion, lift, etc all echoed in other strokes.

Swimmers would not need to learn any new skills to practice these strokes. Thus, coaching these strokes should not be materially different from coaching generally. And practices would largely run as before, since a 200 back would still be the same for all but those who were unable to do the traditional backstroke anyway, and they'll be in the slow lane. They're Plan B strokes for when Plan A, the traditional strokes, aren't working.

To get the biomechanical analysis of these strokes, just frankenstein together your answers from your biomechanical analysis of breaststroke, butterfly, and backstroke. the backstroke will have a glide following the simultaneous followthroughs of the pull and kick. breaststroke with fly legs will play out just like the drill.

While I'm not a fan of these strokes, they do enable several septegenarian and octogenarian swimmers, as well as any swimmers with chronic injuries, to compete in those strokes when they may otherwise not be able.


Dave Chambers
August 1st, 2006, 10:26 AM
I do agree. I just wanted to get a feel of what other people thought without having to lead. It was interesting talking to a thai chi (however you spell it) instructure talking about the breathing when they saw double arm backstroke with a brs kick.

I could never do brs so I have never understood replacing perfectly good kicks with a very un-natural one.:D

Any way I am going to keep it very basic and just explain the timing of the strokes. That should do nicely.

Thanks for the chat.