Different Types of Swimming Strokes – with Images and Videos

Swimming is basically the art of keeping your body afloat and moving forwards or backwards in deep water without drowning. There are many strokes, styles and postures required to master this art and once learned it can be a fun activity relaxing the mind and body along with giving ample exercise to your body. It’s a great way to lose weight, tone up the body, relieve stress and also have some fun. It is one of the most popular sports in the Olympics and there are many serious competitors the world over who have made swimming their life.

Beautiful swimming pools are found the world over with various depths, shape and sizes. Many people throw pool parties to enjoy a cool dip in the water with friends and family. Many school level competitions are held in schools to teach the kids swimming from a very young age. People who have mastered this art become swimming coaches to tutor kids and adults. There are certain levels in swimming starting from the basic to professional. This also includes diving from a certain height. After years of learning and attaining professionalism in this sport, one can swim at a very fast speed across various lengths.

In fact there are many Guinness book world record holders who have swam across the English Channel and such other impossible lengths in just one go. It is very necessary to learn swimming these days as it can prove to be a life saviour at the time of a flood, drowning or sea/river accident. Swimming has been a part of our culture since time immemorial and the first historic competition dates back to 1830 in Britain mostly using Breast Stroke. Initially, breast stroke or the doggy paddle was only extensively used in swimming. When swimming is taught to beginners, the first technique that is taught is to learn to kick in the water while holding both the hands to a side rod. This teaches them to remain afloat and straight with legs kicking. When the beginner gains confidence and gets used to water and kicking only then comes the learning of the freestyle stroke.

Types of Swimming Strokes

Different types of swimming strokes involved in swimming are:

  1. Freestyle Stroke
  2. Breaststroke
  3. Butterfly Stroke
  4. Backstroke
  5. Sidestroke
  6. Elementary Backstroke

Freestyle Stroke

freestyle-swimming-strokeEach stroke has its own technique and advantages. One starts learning from the freestyle stroke. It is also the most preferred style of seasoned swimmers. One has to use alternate arm movements with an above water recovery. The legs do the flutter kick and both the hands and the limbs together provide velocity to the body by their movement and the body easily sails forward. One has to repeatedly push in the head in and out of water for a breather. This stroke is the fastest of all strokes and is very efficient.


breaststroke-styleThis is one of the most popular strokes of all. In this style the arms do the half circular movements simultaneously in the water in front of the swimmer. The legs do the whip kick together at the same time. This movement ushers the body in the front. It is the first style taught to beginners and many people still are only comfortable with the breaststroke. This one is however the slowest of all the strokes. This is taught in the beginning because in this one need not keep putting the head in the water. One can perform this stroke with the head above water throughout and hence not face any breathing issues.

Butterfly Stroke

butterfly-strokeThis stroke has a unique and spectacular technique and when mastered can give a great speed to the body. Many serious competitors follow this stroke during their performances. One has to do a symmetrical arm stroke with the legs doing the dolphin kick. It gives the appearance of a wave like movement and has an above water recovery. One can tire easily with this stroke.


backstroke-styleIt is similar to a freestyle movement done with the alternating arm movements and the leg doing the flutter kick. As the name suggests, this one is swum on the back and hence one can breathe easily and there is no need for breathing orientation. This one is prescribed for patients who have back problems by doctors as this is an excellent workout. It is recommended to wear ear plugs during back stroke as the water can enter the ears and the ear canal very easily in this back stroke.


sidestrokeThis stroke is not used in swimming competitions and is a less famous one. It is particularly used by lifeguards to rescue victims. It is an easy stroke that uses a scissor kick and asymmetrical under water arm movements.

Elementary Back Stroke

elementary-back-strokeThis stroke uses a reversed breaststroke kick with a synchronous under water arm movement. It is swum on the back and is very simple to learn. Kids are generally taught this stroke first as it is very easy to learn.

Benefits of Different Swimming Strokes


The basic benefit of a breast stroke is that swimmer doesn’t feel any breathing issues and have better visibility as compare to other strokes. It can be taught to beginners who have just learn swimming and are yet to learn breathing orientation. Breathing orientation means that one should know that one is in the air and breathes and stops breathing as soon as the head is inside the water. And as both the arms and legs have to perform the similar movements, this stroke is very easy to learn.


Once the swimmer gains a good balance on the back, it is a very good stroke and its main advantage is that the swimmer need not face any swimming issues. It can be swum for long distances and is faster than a breast stroke. It is a very good exercise for back ache patients even some doctors advise their patients to learn this stroke.

Freestyle Stroke

It is the fastest event in any swimming competition. It takes the least amount of energy and helps one cover great distances in less time.

Butterfly Stroke

It has a unique dolphin like pattern which makes it a lot of fun and untiring. As this stroke relies totally on the arms and shoulder muscles for propelling the body upwards and downwards, this is a great exercise for those who wish to tone their arms and upper body. It is a beautiful stroke which when mastered can be a lot of fun.


Swimming is a great exercise to build endurance and muscle strength. It keeps the heart rate up and is an excellent stress reliever. The cardiovascular fitness is maintained. For those who are burdened this weight gain issues, swimming is a great way to maintain a healthy weight and toned up muscles. A healthy heart and healthy lungs is also obtained as it is a form of exercise in which the entire body works out together along with giving one oodles of joy from splashing in the water, especially in a hot climate. Underwater swimming is also a form of swimming is which swimmers cross distances totally swimming underwater and then only emerging at the finish.

This style builds their confidence and helps them stop their breaths for prolonged periods. This style is also used for playing games like coin finding inside the pool. Wearing goggles during this style gives them clear visibility inside water and it is a lot of fun. Fun competitions among friends to serious competitions on school and state level, this is an also a great motivator and confidence booster. People let go of their fear of drowning by being able to swim in deep waters and also learn to dive from high boards without getting scared. It is a form of exercise that can be enjoyed in any age. More than anything, swimming is just pure joy as you feel your body in a pool of crystal clear blue water and when you master the art of swimming, then crossing various lengths becomes a fun challenge.

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