Swimming styles at a glance

Swimming has become a part of human history for a very long time. Unfortunately, it is impossible to establish in what way our ancestors swam. Analyzing the rock carvings, the following conclusion can be made, the way of swimming of the ancestors included alternating work with hands and feet, body position on the chest.
The facts of using swimming can be found in Ancient Egypt. In one of the texts, there is a mention of swimming lessons for the nobility, which testifies to the importance of swimming in the lives of people of that time.

Swimming was one of the means of physical and moral education in ancient Greece. Swimming was valued on par with reading and writing skills. Public figure Solomon said “he can neither swim nor read,” thereby showing disrespect for the pupil as an unworthy member of society.

In the earliest times of our history, wars often took place, in which natural barriers were often encountered, in the form of rivers, lakes and seas. The value of swimming skills quickly captured the minds of generals, so swimming became widely cultivated in military circles. Julia Caesar, Alexander the Great are vivid examples of skillful and technically equipped swimmers of his era.
The first swimming school of its kind appeared in Paris in 1785. And only 40 years later a national swimming school appeared in St. Petersburg in 1825.

International swimming competitions were first held in Budapest in 1889. Swimming made its debut at the Olympic Games in 1896 in Athens. The first European Swimming Championship was held in 1890. In 1908, the International Amateur Swimming Federation (FINA) was created.

Technique of modern sports swimming  includes four basic swimming styles:

  • Chest crawl (Freestyle);
  • Back crawl;
  • breaststroke;
  • Butterfly

Sports swimming technique is an integral system of movements, consisting of a sequence of specific links of technique. The nature of movements, their amplitude and frequency allow the swimmer to realize motor activity in the aquatic environment. The elements of technique are variable to a limited extent and can be changed, adjusting to the individual characteristics of the athlete.

Chest cuff

A chest crawl is the fastest swimming style and is often used in freestyle swimming. In this type of swimming, the position of the swimmer’s body in the water is almost parallel to the water surface. Hand work is characterized by wide strokes along the body, with the right and left hand alternately. The movements of the legs during the crawl constantly perform strikes in the vertical plane. Breathing is coordinated with the work of the hands, during the stroke, the head is turned to the side and inhalation is performed.

Back crib

Back crawl – the structure of the movement, the swimming style is similar to a crawl on the chest, with a changed position of the body, face up. This makes breathing much easier. In terms of speed, this type of swimming is inferior to the crawl on the chest and the butterfly. The crawl on the back, like the breaststroke, is of great practical importance, it is used when transporting drowning people.


Breaststroke is a swimming style in which the movements of the arms and legs are simultaneous and symmetrical. The movements of the arms are directed forward and, as it were, cut the water surface, the legs in the horizontal plane perform jerking movements. Breaststroke movements create a pulling force, with the help of which it is easy to transport a drowning person and various loads. A very economical swimming style in terms of energy consumption.


Butterfly is a type of swimming in which the athlete, being on the chest, performs symmetrical movements of the left and right parts of the body at the same time. A wide stroke is performed with the hands, carrying the arms over the water surface, with the legs performing percussion movements. In sports swimming, the speed butterfly style is used – the dolphin, which is distinguished by its footwork. In the classic butterfly, the legs work in the breaststroke method.

The history of the development of swimming styles

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