The basic swimming strokes all require different skills as they utilize different sets of muscles. The front crawl is the stroke preferred by triathletes.

If you really think about it, the most basic stroke of all was probably the “dog-paddle”, but it’s not a stroke that any swim coach would ever try and teach you.

Long before people ever knew what swimming was, animals were using the dog-paddle to swim in lakes and rivers. The basic swimming strokes you will most likely be taught today are the front crawl, back-stroke, butterfly, and breast-stroke.


However if you are learning how to swim in order to take part in triathlons, there is not really a lot of benefit in spending your valuable training time learning strokes you will most likely never use in a triathlon.

Sure, some people do the back-stroke or breast-stroke in their first few open water swims, but normally once they become more comfortable in the water they begin to work on their front crawl.

There is really no stroke that is more efficient than a smooth, relaxed front crawl. Of all the basic strokes the front crawl can be the most energy saving if it is done properly.

The breast stroke

On the other hand, a front-crawl that is inefficient and clumsy will burn valuable energy that a triathlete will need for the bike and run.

It’s hard to say which of the basic swimming strokes is harder to master. They all have a certain degree of difficulty and when you come right down to it, any of the strokes will take plenty of practice in order to execute them properly.

With the backstroke it’s difficult to know exactly where you are going and navigating is a bit difficult.

The breast-stroke may seem like the easiest stroke to master, but many people struggle with the whip-kick that has to co-ordinate with the movement of the arms.

As with the breast-stroke the wide sweeping arm motion of the butterfly stroke must be in sync with the unique movement of the legs that are a big part of the propulsion.

basic swimming strokes  -woman doing the backstroke

The back-stroke

The good thing about a relaxed, smooth front crawl is the fact that the swimmer can get away with doing very little kicking. This is especially beneficial for triathletes who can avoid over-taxing their leg muscles and save their leg-strength for the bike and run ahead.

There is a swimming book called “Total Immersion”(get your 10% discount code below) that I would recommend to anyone, triathlete or not.

This is the program that changed my swim technique forever and the program that really taught me how to swim properly.

Total Immersion teaches you to “relax” and get comfortable in the water. Struggling to breathe is a natural reaction, and swimming is not natural to people, so we have to teach ourselves to relax and only by learning proper swim technique can this be accomplished.

TOTAL IMMERSION is the perfect system to incorporate into your swim training as your career develops. If you are completely new to swimming, then you have the advantage of developing a great stroke from the very beginning without having to break bad swimming habits.

TOTAL IMMERSION….Simply one of the best swimming techniques in the world today for triathletes of any level.



TOTAL IMMERSION is offering all IronStruck visitors a 10% discount on Books, DVD’s, and all other Total Immersion teaching tools.

Simply click on TOTAL IMMERSION go to their store page. Use the Coupon Code “ironstruck” (all small case letters) into the shopping cart coupon box and you will automatically receive your 10% discount!


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