How to Learn Swimming Strokes

How to Learn Swimming Strokes
Swimming is an important outdoor and survival skill that every person should know for their personal safety. It is also an effective full-body exercise and a great way to enjoy and explore the outdoors. There are three basic swimming strokes: freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke. Learning to swim may seem like a daunting task, but with patience and perseverance even older adults can learn to swim well.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging


Things You’ll Need:
  • Swimsuit Goggles Pool, lake or ocean
  • Swimsuit
  • Goggles
  • Pool, lake or ocean
Step 1
When taking the overhand stroke for freestyle, think of pulling yourself through the water. When your hand is overhead, make sure that your hand enters the water in a line above your shoulder and does not cross over your center line. When you pull your hand out of the water, think of gently pulling your hand from a pant pocket.
Step 2
Allow your body to rotate as you take your strokes, this will add to your buoyancy and allow you to take bigger and more efficient strokes.
Step 3
The kick for freestyle is a simple six-beat scissor kick, three for each arm stroke. Concentrate on keeping the kick small so that your legs do not cause drag.


Step 1
Find your balance in the water on your back. Practice gliding on your back to get the feel of swimming face up.
Step 2
Your arm stroke should be rapid and efficient. Throw your arm straight overhead entering the water in a line directly above your shoulder. Reach back for your pull "grabbing" as much water as you can. Your arm should be in a 90-degree angle at the middle of your pull. Finish your stroke by pushing the water down past you, ending with a straight arm.
Step 3
Allow your body to rotate side to side as you reach back for your stroke just as you do for the freestyle stroke. You will find that you spend most of your time on your sides and not on your back in the backstroke. This is the correct technique for the backstroke.
Step 4
Kick with a rapid, strong, six-beat pattern. Keep the kick small so that you don't create drag with your legs.


Step 1
Glide forward from the wall or shoreline with your arms overhead and your legs long and behind you. Pull forward with your arms shoulder-width apart and your elbows at a right angles, hands pointing downward in the water. Start lifting your head and upper torso at the same time.
Step 2
Draw your legs up to begin a frog kick. Finish your arm stroke by drawing your hands together in a "prayer" position (you'll have drawn a heart-shape in the water with your hands).Your upper body will be out of the water at this time and this is where you take your breath.
Step 3
Dart forward with your upper body in a streamline as you frog-kick your legs into a glide. Try to maximize your glide as much as possible as this is where you will gain the most distance and speed.

Article Written By Tanya Wyr

Tanya Wyr has 12 years experience as a professional writer and editor both in print and online. She has written for major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Macy’s and Mervyns. Wyr has also edited college-level textbooks. Wyr earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Minnesota in 1991.

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