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List of swimming styles: Wikis


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A swimming style is known as a stroke or "crawl". "Stroke" can also refer to a single completion of the sequence of body movements repeated while swimming in the given style. It is possible to swim by moving only legs without arms or only arms without legs; such strokes may be used for special purposes, for training or exercise, or by amputees and paralytics.


Different swimming styles



  • Front crawl is the fastest swimming style.
    • Trudgen (also known as trudgeon): The trudgen is similar to the front crawl, except that it is swum with a scissor kick, similar to that used in the breaststroke.
    • Trudgen crawl: Similar to the trudgen, but with the use of a flutter kick (up and down leg kick) between the scissor kicks
    • Double trudgen: Similar to the trudgen, but the sides of the scissor kick alternate
    • Double trudgen crawl: Similar to the double trudgen, but with a flutter kick between the scissor kick alternate
    • Dolphin crawl: Similar to front crawl, but with a dolphin kick. One kick per arm or two kicks per cycle. This style is often used in training.
    • Catch up stroke: A variation of the front crawl where one arm always rests at the front while the other arm performs one cycle.
  • Butterfly stroke
  • Breaststroke
  • Heads-Up Breaststroke: Similar to the breaststroke, but the head stays out of the water. This style is very popular for recreational swimmers and also for rescue swimmers approaching a victim. Head-up breast is the only suitable stroke for winter or ice swimming as it is essential to keep the head out of very cold water.
  • Slow butterfly (also known as moth stroke): Similar to butterfly, but with an extended gliding phase, Breathing during the pull/push phase, return head into water during recovery. This style uses two kicks per cycle.
  • Dog paddle: face over water and paddling with alternate hands, often with the nose and mouth above the water. This stroke can be used in reverse to propel the body feet first.
  • Human stroke: Similar to the dog paddle, but the arms reach out more and pull farther down.
  • Survival travel stroke: Alternating underwater arm stroke, one cycle for propulsion, one for lift to stay on the surface. This style is slow but sustainable.
  • Breast feet first strokes: With legs extended, use the arms with a pushing, flapping, clapping or uplifting motion.
  • Snorkeling: Swimming on the breast using a snorkel, usually in combination with masks and fins. Any stroke on the breast can be used, and there is no need to lift or turn the head for breathing.
  • Finswimming is the progression of a swimmer using fins either on the water surface or under water. Finswimming is usually done on the breast.
  • An arm and a leg : is the progression of a swimmer clasping one leg with the opposite arm, and using breaststroke movements with the remaining arm and leg.
  • Backstroke (also known as the backcrawl)
  • Elementary backstroke
Both arms move synchronized with a small synchronized kick. This is also sometimes known as the Lifesaving Kick
  • Inverted breaststroke
Similar to elementary backstroke, but with a breaststroke kick.
  • Inverted butterfly
Similar to elementary backstroke, but with a dolphin kick. This is often used for training.
  • Back double trudgen
Similar to the backstroke, but with a scissor kick to alternating sides.
  • Flutter back finning
Symmetrically underwater arm recovery with flutter kick.
  • Feet first swimming
A very slow stroke on the back where a breaststroke movement with the arms propels the body forward feet first. Also the arms can be lifted out of the water and pulled backwards together with a scooping movement. Alternatively, the arms can be raised behind the head, alternately or together pushing with the hands, propelling the body. Similarly, the hands can be brought together in a clapping action. These strokes are often used for training.
  • Corkscrew swimming
Alternating between front crawl and backstroke every arm. This leads to a constant rotation of the swimmer. The stroke is used mainly for training purposes and is also sometimes known as Newfie Stroke, referring to Newfoundland. When rotating every 3rd stroke, this is called waltz crawl.
  • Underwater swimming
Any style with underwater recovery can be swum under water for certain distances depending on the need for air. Underwater swimming on the back has the additional problem of water entering the nose. To avoid this, the swimmer can breathe out through the nose or wear a nose clip. Some swimmers can close their nostrils with the upper lip.
  • Gliding
The swimmer is stretched with the arms to the front, the head between the arms and the feet to the back. This streamlined shape minimizes resistance and allows the swimmer to glide, for example after a start, a push off from a wall, or to rest between strokes.
  • Turtle stroke
On the breast, extend right arm then pull, after pushing with the left leg (while opposite limbs are recovering), then opposite limbs repeat this process, i.e. left arm pulls after right leg pushes. Uses muscles of the waist. Head can easily be above or below water: this is a slow but very sustainable stroke, common in turtles and newts.
On the side, pull the water as if with a rope with arms going out and stopping in the middle, while ensuring that the strokes are most hydrodynamic when moving towards the desired location, and pushing the most water when moving away from the location. In addition, the legs are performing a scissor kick, which is like breaststroke kick, but sideways.
This stroke was developed and used by the United States Navy SEALs and is designed to be more efficient and reduce profile in the water.

Special purpose styles

A number of strokes are only used for special purposes, e.g. to manipulate an object (a swimmer in distress, a ball), or just to stay afloat.

Manipulating objects

  • Lifesaving stroke: Similar to the side stroke, but only the bottom arm moves while the top arm tows a swimmer in distress
  • Lifesaving approach stroke (also known as head-up front crawl): Similar to the front crawl, but with the eyes to the front above the water level, such as to observe the surroundings as for example a swimmer in distress or a ball
  • Water polo stroke: This stroke is used for water polo and is similar to front crawl, but with head above the water and a slightly inward curved arm to keep the ball between the arms and in front of the head.
  • Pushing rescue stroke: This stroke helps assisting a tired swimmer: The tired swimmer lies on the back and the rescuer swims a breaststroke kick and pushes against the soles of the tired swimmer (not taught or recognised by the RLSS body governing Uk lifeguarding)
  • Pulling rescue stroke: This stroke helps assisting a swimmer in distress. The both swimmers lie on the back, and the rescuer grabs the armpits of the swimmer in distress and performs a breaststroke kick (on the back) for forward motion. The kick has to be not too shallow as otherwise the victim will be hit
  • Extended Arm Tow (unconscious victim): swimming sidestroke or breaststroke on their back the rescuer holds the head with a straight arm the hand cupping underneath the chin, and ensures that the mouth and nose are out of the water
  • Arm Tow the rescuer swims sidestroke, behind the casualty holds the upper right arm of a casualty with their left hand or vice versa lifting the casualty out of the water
  • Vice Grip Turn and Trawl - used on a victim with a suspected spinal injury. The lifeguard approaches slowly to the victim (who is usually face down in water), places one hand on the victim's chin, with arm pressed firmly against the victim's chest. The other hand is placed on the back of the victim's head with the arm down the victim's back. Both arms press together (like a vice), and the lifeguard uses his feet to begin moving forward and then rolls under the victim to come up alongside her or him but with the victim not on his or her back. (This is one of the hardest lifesaving maneuvers, as the grip must be perfect on the first attempt; otherwise the victim may be given further spinal damage, such as paralysis.)
  • Clothes swimming: The swimmer is wearing clothes that restrict movement when wet, i.e. almost all clothes. This is done to practice situations were the swimmer fell in the water dressed or the rescuer did not have time to undress. Due to the restricted movement and the weight of wet clothes out of the water, an overarm recovery is not possible. Most swimmers swim breaststroke, but any stroke with underwater recovery is feasible.
  • Rescue tube swimming: The lifeguard pulls a flotation device, which is pushed forward when approaching the victim.

Without forward motion

  • Survival floating (also known as dead man float): Lying on the prone (face down in water) with minimal leg movement, and staying afloat with the natural buoyancy. Lift the head to breathe only then back to floating. This style is only to stay afloat and to rest.
  • Back floating: Similar to the survival floating, except on the back.
  • Treading water: The swimmer is in the water head up and feet down. Different kicks and hand movements to stay afloat. This is useful to keep the head out of the water for a better view or to catch an object as for example in water polo.
  • Sculling: This is a figure 8 movement of the hands for forward motion or upward lift. Used in surf lifesaving, water polo, synchronized swimming and treading water.
  • Turtle float: The knees are raised to the chest and encircled by the arms.[1]
  • Jellyfish float: Holding the ankles with the hands.[1]

See also


External links


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