Swim Library

Swimmers Pop Quiz

Which Arm Is Swimming Which Stroke? A Quiz for Swimmers and Triathletes

Swim Speed Strokes arm quiz

How did you do? Not an easy test, right? If I wasn’t the one to select the photos I’m not sure how I would do. It’s a bugger. Don’t worry about how you scored. The key is that you understand through this example how working on the mechanics of any one stroke reinforces the other strokes. I hope this inspires you at practice.

Stroke Definition

 Although freestyle refers to the ability to choose any stroke, the front crawl is most commonly chosen among swimmers. During a race, the competitor would circle arms forward, alternating arms, and kick their feet up and down about a foot apart (flutter kick).

The breaststroke is the slowest swimming style, and the most difficult to do correctly due to the importance of timing and coordination required to move the legs properly. In the breaststroke, the swimmer leans on the chest, arms breaking the surface of the water slightly, legs always underwater and the head underwater for the second half of the stroke. The body is often at a steep angle to the forward movement, which slows down the swimmer. Professional breaststrokes use abdominal muscles and hips to add extra power to the kick, although most do not perfect this technique until the collegiate level. This much faster form of breaststroke is referred to as "wave-action" breaststroke and fully incorporates the whip-kick.

The butterfly is unforgiving of mistakes in style; it is very difficult to overcome a poor butterfly technique with brute strength. Many swimmers and coaches consider it the most difficult swimming style. The main difficulty for beginners is the synchronous over-water recovery, especially when combined with breathing, since both arms, the head, shoulders and part of the chest have to be lifted out of the water for these tasks. Once efficient technique has been developed, it becomes a smooth, fast stroke.

Backstroke has a similar speed to butterfly. Race times for the butterfly are superior to those for the backstroke mostly because the former allows a racing start from poolside and the latter does not. In races beyond 200 meters, backstroke would actually be the faster of the two, though it mainly depends on the stamina of the swimmer as well as technique. The maximum swimming speed for backstroke is around 1.89 meter per second. Due to its position on the back, backstroke uses some different muscles in the upper body than other styles.

ANSWERS: A) backstroke B) freestyle C) breastroke D) butterfly

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