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What are the swimming styles?

What are the swimming styles?

One of the most beneficial sports is swimming. Since all the muscles of the body are in motion during swimming, swimming is more advantageous than many other sports. Without the need to use any weights, swimming helps to develop muscles by applying force only against the resistance of the water. In the most basic sense, swimming is the act of moving the body in water with strokes and foot strokes.

Swimming is a competition in pools prepared in accordance with international standards, where athletes compete in their own lanes without the need for any equipment. Swimming competitions consist of various rules. Competitions are organized in different distances and styles. In order to be fully informed about the sport of swimming, it is first necessary to learn swimming styles. There are four different swimming styles that have their own characteristics.

These styles, called freestyle swimming, backstroke swimming, breaststroke swimming and butterfly swimming, have theoretical knowledge. People who start swimming with theoretical knowledge about swimming styles can improve their technique more easily during practice.


Freestyle swimming is the first and easiest technique to learn. This technique is learned in a much shorter time compared to other techniques. A person who trains in swimming starts with freestyle swimming technique before learning other techniques. The most important feature that distinguishes freestyle swimming technique from others is that it is the fastest of the four swimming styles. In this style, the traction mechanics consist of a right and a left arm pull, as well as a variable number of foot strokes. Let's analyze freestyle swimming in detail.

  • Free swimming arm pull; The arm pull to be performed under water consists of 3 sweeping movements. The sweeping movements are planned to be downward, inward and upward. The arm pulls at this stage are respectively; entering the water, reaching, exiting the water and completing the arm revolution in front.
  • Water entry movements in the free swimming technique; In the free swimming technique, the entry into the water is from the front of the head, that is, at a midpoint between the middle of the forehead and the shoulder head. As soon as the swimmer's hand enters the water, he/she should turn the palm outward. After his/her hand enters the water, his/her arm should also enter the water from the same point. From this moment on, the swimmer whose arm is in the water should extend it as far as possible just below the surface of the water. At this stage, when the reaching process is completed, he/she should turn his/her palms to face downwards. The arm traction should be turned to a full downward position when the reaching phase is complete. In this phase, called the reach phase, the swimmer should extend the hand forward in a straight position in the direction of the reach. The swimmer should not apply a force to the water as the arm enters the water. . Because at the same time, he/she should not start the pulling movement in order not to affect the movement of the other arm that completes the pushing movement. When the arm enters the water, it should continue to reach forward from the midpoint between the head and shoulder. The body, in a shape similar to the nose of a boat, supports the arm behind to complete the pushing movement comfortably. At the same time the downward sweep begins.

In freestyle swimming, the position of the body in the water must be tense. The important thing in this technique is to swim without tightening and contracting while moving in the water. In freestyle, the swimmer sticks his/her head out only during breathing and applies a mouth breathing technique. He exhales through his nose and mouth.


In breaststroke, the arm and foot are equally effective. The critical point to emphasize in this style is timing. In timing, you need to pay close attention to the arm, foot and breath. Each of them is very effective on speed. In this technique, where we think that the swimmer's arms and feet are tied like the ropes passing through a pulley on the ceiling are tied to a puppet, the body is in a tense state. The taut ropes pull the swimmer's arm and the heel of the foot towards the hip.

The swimmer inhales during the arm pull and exhales during the arm extension. Breaststroke is one of the most technical styles in swimming. Unlike freestyle, if a swimmer makes a mistake in the competition, they are disqualified from the race. Let's examine the details of the breaststroke swimming technique, which is basically based on the double arm pull and push, as well as the stroke with both legs bent at the knee.

Basic stance position; this position consists of 4 stages. Starting with a warm-up, the basic stance position continues with stretching the muscles, lying in the water and pushing the wall. Starting with the warm-up, the swimmer works with various warm-up movements in the water for about five minutes. The swimmer, who needs to stretch his/her muscles, stretches all muscle groups as much as he/she can and keeps them tense for 10-15 seconds. The swimmer stretches his/her arms forward in the water and does stretching exercises with his/her face parallel to the bottom of the pool. The last stage of the basic stance is the push against the wall. At this stage, the swimmer pushes his/her body forward in the water with the support of the soles of the feet. Then, he/she applies the lying position. Thus, he/she can quickly restore his/her balance.

Leg movements in breaststroke swimming; leg movements in this style are in two forms as passive and active movements. In passive leg movements, the legs should be shoulder-width apart after sliding. At this stage, the swimmer, who bends his knees slightly, should pull his heels towards his hips. The swimmer, who pulls his/her heels towards his/her hips, starts to push the water with the soles of his/her feet and pushes the water outwards. In breaststroke swimming, the swimmer is in active leg movement with knees bent and heels pulled towards the hips. He turns his feet outward at this stage. With the help of the soles of his/her feet, he/she pushes the water forcefully from the side to the back. Having completed the active movement, the swimmer then straightens his/her legs together. The feet should remain in the sliding position until it is time for the next stroke.

Arm movements in breaststroke swimming; arm movements are divided into two as passive and active, just like leg movements. During passive arm movements in breaststroke swimming style, the swimmer takes his/her arms forward. At the same time, his/her hands should look forward along with his/her shoulders. The passive movement continues until the arms are straight.


The backstroke technique is known to be very close to the freestyle technique. However, in the backstroke, the body takes a completely different position in the water. This technique is easier to learn after learning freestyle. In 1912, during the Stockholm Olympic Games, the backstroke technique was first practiced by the American swimmer Hebner. After its success, it was taken seriously as an innovative technique.

This proven backstroke technique was emphasized for a very long time. Backstroke is a style of swimming that involves lying on your back in the water. The hands are placed at head level and move backwards with the help of the feet. The backstroke swimmer should feel comfortable in the water. Unlike freestyle, the position of the head is fixed. In the backstroke technique, the elbows are never bent during the stroke. The swimmer puts his/her hands in the water from the farthest point as far as possible and after the water is drawn out, he/she takes them out from the side of the leg.

When the swimmer needs to hold his/her hands in the air, he/she determines the position with the palms facing outwards. The pinky finger should enter the water first. In the backstroke style, the feet are free and must be moved from the hips. Since the head is facing upwards in the backstroke, there are no breathing problems, as in freestyle. Once the swimmer starts swimming backstroke, they need to keep their feet and toes under the water.

Swimmers also have the right to swim up to 15 meters under water from the moment they start swimming. A backstroke swimmer can also facilitate foot flapping by keeping the waist upright. It is more correct to clap the feet with the toes stretched out. The swimmer can throw his/her head back while swimming on his/her back, and it is observed that most good backstroke swimmers swim with their chin down.


We can say that butterfly swimming is a difficult technique. In freestyle swimming, the legs move in a scissor-like fashion, but in butterfly style, both legs must move at the same time. In freestyle, the arms are used alternately. In butterfly style, on the other hand, both arms can be used at the same time. The butterfly swimming style is quite enjoyable to watch. In the butterfly swimming technique, where the body needs to be tense, the swimmer lies in the water with his arms while performing a dolphin stroke with his legs.

During the stroke, the swimmer's arms move away from each other and come back together when the hands approach the abdomen. The swimmer keeps the head in the water before extending the arms forward for the stroke. During butterfly swimming, the swimmer exhales while swimming strokes and inhales with the head out of the water while the hands are in the water. It is not easy to learn the movements in butterfly swimming technique. It is necessary to be challenging during training.

Training should be continued with coordinations appropriate to the level of the swimmer candidate. Butterfly style is a difficult swimming style due to the fact that both arms come out during recovery. First of all, the candidate swimmer should be placed face down in the water. His/her hands stand next to the body and his/her head is allowed to fluctuate with up and down movements. Slowly move forward. In order for the butterfly swimming style to be more effective, arm and foot exercises are added with the fluctuation movement. 

Thus, technical exercises are started. The shoulder joint must be in the correct position. At the same time, it is an important detail that the ankle flexibility is at the appropriate level.


  • When the swimmer first enters the water in butterfly style, he/she should keep his/her hands at shoulder level. His/her elbows should be bent, but not too much.
  • The swimmer's head enters the water first, followed by the thumb and arms.
  • The body should be tense and the arm should extend at the entrance to the water.
  • In the water, the outward sweep and inward sweep position is applied by opening the arms outwards and catching the water.
  • The body should be pressed into the water from the chest downwards.
  • The speed increases towards the end of the pull.
  • Hands go upwards, first the little finger. It comes to the recovery point again.
  • During the recovery phase, the body is always relaxed, the arms are gathered in a relaxed and tidy manner.


In butterfly style, one arm stroke is accompanied by 2 foot strokes. When the swimmer's hands enter the water and when the hands come out from under the swimsuit, 2 footstrokes are applied. In the first movement, the swimmer moves his/her body to cover distance in the water with his/her arms. His/her arms are under the water and he/she performs the outward sweeping downstroke upstroke movements. In the second foot stroke, recovery takes place.


  • The swimmer breathes during the upward sweep phase. It is also the second stroke phase.
  • He takes his head out before he takes his arms out and his head enters the water before his arms enter.
  • The swimmer's head looks forward and pushes his chin forward.
  • Usually both arms are breathing.

We mentioned 4 types of swimming above. In competitions, swimmers can also use mixed swimming. Individual and team competitions are organized in men's and women's categories. In competitions, swimmers compete in freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. Competitions are organized in various meters that require several laps of the pool where the race is held. 

Swimmers who rank in the swimming tournaments in their country are entitled to participate in the international championships of important continents such as Europe and Asia. Especially in the world swimming championships, the aim is to carry the flag in team competitions. Freestyle and mixed swimming styles are used in competitions.


Breath control is an essential part of swimming. You should know how to control your breathing, where to inhale and where to exhale. Regular sports have an important place in terms of physical and mental health. Today, many people lead a more sedentary life. However, it is seen that those who do regular physical activity have a healthier and more aesthetic body and a healthier mood. Doing sports reduces body fat and increases lean tissue mass. 

Thus, you increase your chances of having a healthier body and mass index. It will be very beneficial for your physical and mental health if you see sports as an enjoyable activity, not an obligatory one. You should incorporate sport into your daily life as much as possible. Practicing sports as a lifestyle brings significant benefits. One of the sports that allows most of the muscles in the body to work at the same time is swimming. In addition to being a fun activity, swimming helps you stay in shape. 

What should you pay attention to before and after swimming, which will help you have a healthier body? Let's examine it together.

Before you start swimming, you should warm up; warming up is very important in swimming as it is in every sport. Thanks to warm-up movements, both your performance increases and you are mentally prepared for the sport. With warming up, there is an increase in muscle and body temperature in the swimmer's body. Various hormonal changes also occur in this process, which also supports the expansion of blood vessels. Thanks to warming up, your risk of injury is reduced.

  • Eat a healthy diet before and after swimming; a balanced diet is especially important for professional athletes. The cells in your body need to work at maximum level. For this, you need to follow a nutrition program rich in fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals. It would not be right to cut out carbohydrates completely. Instead, you should consume carbohydrates in moderation and in sufficient amounts. You need to pay attention to a balanced diet before and after swimming training. This way, you will get enough and balanced intake of important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  • Perhaps the most important change that occurs in our body after the sport is completed is the depletion of the sugar stored in the muscles. Adding legumes, whole wheat bread and colorful vegetables to your post-workout diet will be the right step. You should definitely consume protein to repair damaged muscle fibers. Protein can be taken with a meal with chicken or red meat. In addition, taking liquid protein and healthy carbohydrates in the first 30 minutes after heavy exercise will repair worn muscle fibers in a short time.
  • Increase your comfort with your swimming equipment; comfort is very important in swimming. You should use complete, correct swimming equipment during training. Thus, you can increase your swimming capacity and comfort. When it comes to swimming, the first thing that comes to mind is the swimming cap. The swimming cap is a mandatory swimming equipment in all swimming pools, especially for sports purposes. The swimming cap protects your hair from chlorine and is also necessary for hygiene. When choosing a swimming cap, it is important to choose a product that the person who will use it will be comfortable. Swimming goggles are also a must for swimming. Choosing the right swimming goggles is very important for health and performance. It is important for every swimmer to choose the right swimming goggles to be comfortable. Swimming goggles make it easier to see under water. Swimming goggles should be of good quality to protect your eyes from chlorine and other chemicals. When choosing swimming goggles, you may have difficulty because everyone's face or eye shape is different. You should choose your goggles according to your expectations and the characteristics of the environment you swim in. Choosing the wrong goggles can cause water to fill the goggles, vaporize the lenses or make you uncomfortable due to loss of comfort. A swimsuit is another important piece of equipment for a comfortable swimming experience.  A swimsuit is important for both a beginner swimmer and a professional swimmer. You should choose a swimsuit that dries quickly and fits the body well. Swimsuits that do not fit well and swell are not suitable for swimming. Since your swimsuit affects your comfort, a wrong choice will prevent you from swimming comfortably.


All kinds of sports have positive effects on health. Swimming contributes to the regular functioning of metabolism. Swimming regulates blood circulation. One of the important benefits of swimming is that it protects athletes from diseases as it contributes to the body becoming more resistant. As it is known, people living in northern countries have made a habit of swimming in very cold waters to increase their body resistance.

Swimming should not only bring professional athletes to mind. The structure of the human body is suitable for standing on water. By acquiring some theoretical knowledge and applying it correctly, the body can be made to swim properly. People who are not confident in themselves can also get used to being in the water quickly with a little training. The cleanliness and hygiene of the environment in which you swim is a very important criterion. A clean environment positively affects one's health. Let's examine the positive effects of swimming on human health in detail.

  • Benefits to the circulatory system; Swimming has very positive effects on the circulatory system, which includes the heart and vascular systems. With the positive effect of swimming training, heart rhythm and blood flow rate are regulated. As a result of regular activities, heart minute volume is increased. Thus, the oxygen supply to the tissues increases in direct proportion. If long-distance swimmers make this increase, they gain a lot of momentum both in terms of sports and health. An important difference of swimming from other sports is the posture of the body during sports.  In swimming, the horizontal position on the water or in the water affects the heart rate much more than the standing position. In this position, the heart is in a much better position to fill with blood. The most important indicator of this is that the buoyancy of the water develops resistance against gravity. In the face of this resistance, the heart feels the need to continuously expel blood. In this way, the heart can be used more efficiently by sending blood to the muscles that continue to work. Swimming is known to have positive effects on the heart.
  • Benefits to the respiratory system; The respiratory cycle, which starts from the mouth and nose and ends in the lungs, is responsible for supplying oxygen to the blood and reducing the rate of carbon dioxide. During this cycle, oxygen passage and gas exchange occur. Gas exchange occurs in all areas and oxygen is transported to the cells. During swimming, the body starts to need more oxygen. The increased need for oxygen brings with it the overworking of the respiratory and circulatory systems. As the oxygen requirement increases, more oxygen enters the organism and the body's supply of oxygen increases. Consecutive training sessions during swimming also have an effect on the respiratory system. Therefore, we can say that it has a very positive effect on health.
  • Nervous System; Swimming makes all body muscles work. Thus, it is quite normal to have a positive effect on the nervous system. All activities in the water involve the nervous system through the sensory organs. The biggest reason for this is that the sensory organs and the nervous system work in coordination. When we evaluate all of this, we can see that swimming is relaxing for the nervous system. Muscles relax after swimming exercises.  The feeling of relaxation in the muscles is an important sign that the nervous system is resting. The feeling of relaxation during swimming helps to feel psychologically peaceful and happy. The relaxation felt after swimming has a positive effect on the body as a result of the relaxation of the nervous system.
  • The benefits of swimming are not limited to those listed above. At the same time, its effects on social life and psychological benefits are also quite high. Swimmers who are interested in swimming have no problems with self-confidence. One of the most important social benefits of swimming is that it increases self-confidence. Those who have a phobia such as being afraid of water can easily overcome it.

Another of its social benefits is that it eliminates the problem of adaptation. It also prevents distraction. Discipline is one of the biggest benefits of swimming and all other sports. This discipline is reflected in the whole life of the person and encourages the person to live a more planned life. People who are interested in swimming are very active individuals in their social lives. Especially as individuals who are more beneficial to society, they can make a name for themselves in different studies.


Swimming may seem difficult at first, but after frequent training it will become quite enjoyable as your fitness will increase. Before you start swimming, gather all your courage and listen carefully to all the details explained to learn the techniques. With a little courage and confidence, you can start swimming in a very short time. When you gather your courage and put yourself in the water, you will see that there is actually nothing to be afraid of. 

Thanks to the techniques you learn over time, you can not only start swimming much better and faster, but you can also witness improvements in your general health and body structure. Thanks to the warm-up movements, your practice will start to increase in a short time. Warm-ups will not only prevent cramps, but also help you adapt to swimming movements in a short time. You can gain speed by training frequently.

You cannot fully learn any sport without training. Swimming is a sport that requires frequent training. You can adapt to swimming much more easily by learning and practicing the techniques that will be needed during swimming. Swimming, which will always make you feel stronger and healthier, is also an important opportunity for you to socialize. You will also feel psychologically relaxed thanks to your increased self-confidence over time.

When you decide to start swimming, it will be easy to get swimming equipment that will help you increase your fitness and comfort. Thanks to the technical knowledge and comfortable equipment you have, you can have successful swimming experiences.