6 Everyday Struggles of a Breaststroke Specialist

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Photo Courtesy: Andy Ringgold/Aringo Photos

6 Everyday Struggles of a Breaststroke Specialist

By Diana Pimer

Breaststrokers are a unique class of swimmers. Some excel at IMs, while others can swim the stroke faster than freestyle. Even with these slight differences, there are some things that all breaststrokers can relate to. Not everyone understands why people enjoy swimming the slowest stroke, and some don’t really understand how to even move their bodies in that frog-like manner. Let’s take an inside look at some everyday struggles of a breaststroker.

1. Getting made fun of for your feet

Most swimmers have flexible ankles, good range of motion in their hips, and of course, strong shoulders. But most breaststrokers possess a set of turned out feet. This characteristic automatically helps a swimmer do breaststroke, because this outward motion is natural. And the weirdest part is breaststrokers embrace this. I remember being 12 years old listening to Ed Moses give a speech on how to make your ankles stretch outward more, and I’ve been stretching out my ankles on my school desk ever since. I also remember getting asked why I walk with my feet pointed out. Wait, that was just yesterday.

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2. Holding everyone up

It’s happened to all of us. You’ve either been the hunter or the hunted in a crowded meet warm-up. And there’s nothing more annoying than running into a breaststroker during a full-on sprint. But there is nothing breaststrokers can do but try not to kick someone in the head or the stomach. Breaststrokers are constantly getting run-over in warm-ups or practices. Sorry, sprinters!

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3. Making freestyle intervals…while doing breaststroke

Whether you are a club, high school, or collegiate breaststroker, there will be sets where you watch your teammates get plenty of rest on the wall and you barely make the interval. Fifties on :40, anyone? Breaststrokers are always racking their brains with questions such as, “how is this fair?” and “why didn’t I try harder to be decent at the other strokes?”.

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4. Having to change your pullout.

Changing your pullout can be both a positive and negative experience. Pullouts for breaststrokers are like putting on your best pair of goggles. You rely on them and you just do it naturally. But with the pullout rules constantly changing, this old reliable part of our race gets confusing, frustrating, but also incredibly rewarding. Breaststrokers always have to be ready to adapt.

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5. Timing

Breaststroke is all about timing. If one thing is off your whole stroke is off, there is no getting around it. From the kick and pull to not gliding into the walls, timing is something that needs to practiced every time breaststrokers swim the stroke or the race will not be successful. As difficult as it is in practice, focusing on timing is worth it!

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6. Not breathing

Here’s where I probably lost you…saying you don’t breathe during a stroke where you do, indeed, breathe every stroke? In breaststroke, you are very limited to when you can breathe. Most of the stroke is spent in the glide position underwater, because that’s when breaststrokers are the fastest. Breaststrokers don’t get too much time to breathe in training, either, since most of the drills involve staying underwater for extra time. Ask any breaststroker, we don’t really get to breathe!

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susanne pimer
7 years ago

anther very good article

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Samantha Waterson
7 years ago

7. Complaints about breaststroke being easy.

Every breaststroker knows the pain of not being able to breathe or having trouble making the send off, but only the passionate breaststrokers understand the fury of a Backstroker(which you the breaststroker have wished to be for so long) complaining about how easy breaststroke is. They who can make the intervals with minimal effort, actually absorb air, and have very little technique involves whatsoever. To most breaststrokers, the only stroke that rivals the hardness of breaststroke is butterfly, but even they cannot diss their stroke.

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NP
7 years ago

Amen, sister!

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Backstroker
6 years ago

Hey! Backstrokers DO NOT get to breathe whenever we want. Our breathing also must be timed (especially when swimming all out). We may have our faces out of the water, but we risk getting water up our nose or inhaling water far more than any other swimmer. Speaking of having our faces out of the water, it’s virtually impossible to know where we are in the lane when training outdoors, not to mention the blinding sun in our eyes!

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6 years ago

Looks like we are going to Fairmont.

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6 years ago

Here here.

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6 years ago

Brendan de Greve

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6 years ago

They forgot to mention leading the lane on kick sets ?

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6 years ago
Reply to  Mark Grainge

The biggest problem is when the kick alternates.. Last on flutter, first on choice…it’ll wear you out for sure

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6 years ago
Reply to  Mark Grainge

It’s not so bad leading the lane, it’s the fact that kick sets are the only time breaststrokers lead the lane.

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6 years ago
Reply to  Mark Grainge

Yes. I kind of misread the title of the post. My comment was meant as a breaststroker strength rather than struggle. But you guys got that.

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6 years ago
Reply to  Mark Grainge

I’ve kicked a 35 before and wasn’t even that great of a breaststroker..I heard people like kevin cordes can kick under 30…

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Tom Burke
6 years ago
Reply to  Mark Grainge

Except when the coach allows fins.

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6 years ago

True true

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6 years ago

Abi L Young definitely the feet ?

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6 years ago

Jess Potter Jess Legge the struggles we had

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6 years ago
Reply to  Jordan Burnes

Trying to make freestyle intervals….the worst ??

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6 years ago
Reply to  Jordan Burnes

10x150s freestyle..”Jess why don’t you do every other breastroke” ?

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6 years ago
Reply to  Jordan Burnes

OMG yes I definitely don’t miss doing that lol

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6 years ago

Cath

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6 years ago

Breaststroke squad feel this ? Hunter Small Heather Baxter Staisya Murphy

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6 years ago

Barbara Chastis algo así?

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6 years ago

Emily Taifer

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6 years ago

Ah! Way too true.

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6 years ago

Nugbin Binny

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6 years ago

Daniel Ggumby Iarrera

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Riham Maher Lotfy

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6 years ago

Calum Gorman Stephen Stanley

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6 years ago

Tim Kraemer Sheridan Lillian Mullen

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6 years ago

Cameron Gillespie

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6 years ago

Lindsey Bost

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6 years ago

William Hughes

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6 years ago

Mk Jabbia

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6 years ago

So accurate

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6 years ago

Cal Parker

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6 years ago

Hannah Sophia

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6 years ago

Mercedes LeBlanc

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6 years ago

Kallista Peterson

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6 years ago

Miranda Reetz

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6 years ago

Swim breaststroke with triathletes. Feel the resentment when you overtake them.

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6 years ago

Erin Braden Goss for zoe

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Bryony Thorne is it true

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6 years ago

Yes omg ??

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6 years ago

Mohamed Ahmed

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6 years ago

Bèthany Cooper

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6 years ago
Reply to  Jessica Duff

the first one is the best

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6 years ago
Reply to  Jessica Duff

like that struggle is real

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6 years ago

amazing

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6 years ago

Shawn Cowper Daniels

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Tom Burke
6 years ago

Notice the image in number 5, where the breaststroker is trying to keep his head looking down (neck straight.) Try catching a breath with the water rolling straight down across your mouth and nose.

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Saasha cause you’re a breaststroker

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6 years ago

Emily Saccullo

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AfterShock
1 year ago

And doing dolphin kick breaststroke during a stroke drill set beats doing a 6 kick 3 stroke backstroke every time.

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Jason Rosales
3 months ago

Great article, very relateable!