Different types of swimming styles

June 30, 2021

Practicing swimming, beginners want to understand the difference between swimming styles. It is difficult to determine which one will become "yours" — it is more reasonable to master them all and then conclude. Remember: there is no difference whether you choose a crawl or breaststroke, doing it right, your body will always be fit, excess weight will go away, and your health will improve.

Types of swimming

Where do these terms come from? There are several types of swimming in the pool:

  • Applied swimming is a school for lifeguards, water park workers, boat drivers. That is a mandatory elective for everyone whose activities are related to water;
  • Game swimming – the section of water polo, the most popular game on the water;
  •  Synchronized swimming is an art form that encompasses dancing and grouping people on the water in certain poses;
  • Recreational or therapeutic swimming is practiced to restore the musculoskeletal system after injuries.

And now let's return to sports swimming. Here is the swimming styles list.

Swimming styles

Crawl is the fastest 

It is the fastest way to move in the pool. The upper part of the swimmer's torso is twisted alternately on each side, the hands make a stroke. The legs work like" scissors " vertically. In the crawl, it is important to remember that you need to exhale into the water when turning your head and shoulders. This style has a serious load on the shoulders and arms, the muscles of which need to be developed.

Crawl has two varieties:

Front Craw

  • Technique: simultaneous execution of movements with straight legs and hands, alternately making a motion and a stroke underwater up to the hip. The inhalation is carried out by turning towards the head, and the exhalation (through the nose and mouth) – into the water.
  • Features: This style is the fastest and most highly coordinated.
  • Pros: The ability to develop a maximum swimming speed, easy to master.
  • Cons: requires precise coordination of the movement of the hands.

Back Crawl 

  • Technique: It is not a different swimming style because it has no fundamental difference from the crawl on the chest. It is performed on a perfectly straightened back.
  • Features: This method is preferable for strengthening the back muscles.
  • Pros: easy to learn the technique, helps to relieve tension in the muscles.
  • Cons: before mastering the crawl on the back, it is advisable to study the crawl on the chest.

It is the only style by which the distance is overcome lying on your back. The legs work alternately up and down, the hands perform alternate strokes. The breathing is arbitrary since the face is above the water. This style is often used to relax after a difficult task because there is an opportunity to calmly catch your breath while continuing to move. You can rest standing at the side, but lactic acid will accumulate in large quantities in the muscles, and the next series of your training will not be as effective.


People call it "frog-like" swimming since the position and movement of the athlete's legs reminds a frog. The hands make parallel movements: first, they are brought forward, then, when they are separated to the sides, they make a reverse stroke and help push the body through. People could swim it 3000 years ago. And despite its simplicity, this style allows you to burn up to 360 kilocalories in half an hour.


This type of swimming style implies intensive work of the whole body due to the hands' movement, the torso literally "jumps" out of the water. The legs, which should simultaneously make a good push, also help in this. You burn up to 700 kcal per workout. This is the most physically complicated style. The footwork is performed by a wave-like movement similar to the dolphin's tail. Butterfly swimming is often used during strength training to increase muscle strength.


Combining all swimming styles, a swimmer can go the distance, swimming either crawl, butterfly, breaststroke, sometimes swimming on his side or back.

How to swim properly underwater?

The question deserves special attention. Use modified versions of the butterfly or breaststroke to move underwater:

  •  Underwater butterfly. The arms are stretched forward. Perform undulating movements of the body and legs.
  •  Underwater breaststroke. The hands after the stroke are not thrown forward, but along the hips, then during the kick, they are smoothly brought forward for sliding.

Other varieties

The above styles are considered the most optimal and healthy ways to move in the water.

There are swimming types of style such as:

  • Dog swimming is not a very recommended option. It can be used as an auxiliary exercise.
  • Swimming on the side is used as an exercise, but it can also act as an independent method.

What style of swimming should I give preference to?

A certain style has its nuances and features (speed, load level, short or long distance, etc.). Each method assumes the presence of certain skills, physical strength, and level of training.

Therefore, athletes decide for themselves. The choice depends on the goals set, for example:

  • It is better to swim on your stomach to correct your posture;
  • For beginners and people of advanced age, it is worth paying attention to breaststroke.

Swimming, being a universal type of training, is a significant method of physical activity for people with diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Thanks to regular classes in the pool, blood vessels, and heart strengthen. The pressure decreases. In addition, the risk of injury is minimized.

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