Swimming backstroke

The backstroke is the only regulated stroke to be swum on the back. The technique required prevents diving and is therefore the only competition swimming style that has a different start.

Stage one

  • Position the body straight and slightly sloped from head to hips.
  • Keep the chin tucked in and the legs fully submerged.
  • The ears should be slightly below the water surface with the head still and eyes looking down towards the toes.

Stage two

  • Keeping the legs close together, begin alternate kicking from the hips with an up and down action.
  • Maintain almost straight legs with the knees below the surface.
  • Relax the ankles with pointed toes and try to minimise splashing.

Stage three

  • Begin alternate arm action with a slightly bent arm and ensure the little finger enters the water first.
  • As the hand enters the water, sweep the arm downward with an outward palm.
  • Continue to sweep the arm with it bent 90° at the elbow and position the hand to sweep inward and upward.
  • As the arm pushes towards the thigh, keep fingers pointing sideways and the palms downward.
  • The hand leaves the water thumb first, the arms keeps straight and turns slightly to allow re-entry with little finger.

Stage four

  • Maintain natural breathing throughout the stroke and try to keep six leg kicks to one stroke cycle.