Researched, produced, and prepared by Brent S. Rushall, Ph.D., R.Psy.


The following collage of sequences from some of the world's best breaststrokers are presented as teaching aids in Dr. Rushall's Stroke Clinics. Each item is presented to show important features of the stroke that should be adapted to each individual's capabilities.

Mike Barrowman at Barcelona

The kicking action depicted here represents the most recent development in breaststroke leg actions. It shows the following.

  1. The feet are being everted as the legs reach their final stage of compression preparatory to kicking (frame #10). The knees and feet are comfortably apart and not unnaturally held together.
  2. The feet are fully everted at the initiation of the leg drive (frame #11).
  3. The paths of the feet are direct. They finish wider than they started, an action that facilitates their direct force application during the stages when they can be most effective. There is no "sweeping" or "wedge-shaped" action. The feet should be well apart at the end of the legs' effectiveness.
  4. The attainment of the arms' full streamline occurs at the same time as the legs complete their kick. After that position the legs come together.

Agnes Kovacs at Perth

This section of Agnes Kovacs' stroke demonstrates alternate movements for the arm action.

  1. The hands do not push to the side but very early on in the outward scull are oriented backward, in a manner similar to Mike Barrowman.
  2. The attainment of a backward thrusting arm position that is very similar to a stage of the butterfly stroke is important for propulsion.
  3. The main function of the inward scull is to support shoulders and head lifting, not to generate only propulsive force.
  4. An additional feature of this series is the spread of the knees when the legs are drawn up. It is a natural and comfortable position, not unnatural or injury-provoking.

Kristy Kowal at Perth

Kristy Kowal's pull is similar to that of Agnes Kovacs.

  1. The hands are oriented backward mid-way through the outward scull (frame #4).
  2. The arms and shoulder adduction are similar to the first half of a butterfly stroke's propulsive phase (frames #5 through #7).
  3. After the effective propulsive length of the direct arm pull, the arms scull inward to support elevated head and shoulder positions.

These pictures are good demonstrations of features associated with propulsion in breaststroke.

Backstroke teaching aid

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